Today I had conference calls. I had design requests. I got in a bit of trouble for doing something wrong. I sent emails. I sent text messages. I posted to social media accounts.
It feels like things are figuring out a way to get back to normal in my life and I don’t want it to.
I spoke with a friend who’s concerned about income coming in. I read about someone who died in the hospital because it took so long to get tested and admitted to the ICU. I saw a couple walking their dog while wearing surgical masks.
None of this is normal.
I’m not panicking or filled with anxiety about all of this but I do want to yell at people who want to go about their business like it’s not happening.
For millions of people this is horrific. For the privileged minority, which I include myself in, this is an inconvenience.
Never let this become normal until everyone is safe and healthy and financially secure.
As you may or may not know, I have an art project where I paint paintings and then leave them out in the world for people to find. As I usually put a painting out a week I tend to do a lot of quick paintings without any emotional attachment to them. This way it makes it easy to let them go and never think about them again.
Every so often though I do something that I really, really like and it makes it harder to give up. There are a few hanging in my bedroom and they may never leave. Most times I give up the attachment and let it go out in the world.
Because I work fast I can usually finish before I give it much thought. However, recently I started painting and I love how it’s coming out, so much so that I’m blocked from moving forward. I know the other details I want to add but I’m afraid of ruining what is currently there. On the flip side, the additions may enhance the overall painting and make it even better.
It’s just an uncomfortable feeling of not knowing which is the right move to make.
I know I need to get past that feeling and follow my initial vision through to completion. Whatever the outcome, it is the right thing to do and to be paralyzed by fear is not.
So today I heard about the first person I know who passed from COVID-19. It was a bit of a body blow. I know people that believe they had it but never had the ability of being tested so never confirmed. Being in self-isolation however makes a bit of this not seem real even though you’re hearing about it every day.
This is different. This is tangible fact.
I can’t say we were ever really close. He was a working musician and for 9 years I had a music based podcast. We both supported each other. When I held a benefit concert in 2006 for the Lake Castle School in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina he was the first person to agree to play. When I put out merchandise promoting my show he was the first person to buy a t-shirt. We would often see each other out an about or I would go to see him play. We always had good conversations whenever we were together.
I have nothing but fond memories. He was a good person and my world is less now for him not being in it.
As I’m sure a lot of you are also doing, we’ve been checking in on family and friends, seeing how everyone is doing, blah blah blah. You know the deal – we’re all in this together.
Friends of ours are having a tough time as they are hitting a bit of cabin fever. Normally they travel quite often and go out to see plays and other events. This staying the house thing is not agreeing with them.
My response, to my wife, not to them was “I don’t get boredom. I understand it but I don’t get it. I have no idea when I’m going to die but I don’t have enough time to get everything I want to do done.”
I truly believe that. As I’m typing this a painting is looking down at me wondering when I’m going to finish it. The book I’m reading is longing to be picked up again and finished. The harmonium is begging to have the stuff piled on top of it taken off so it can be opened up and played.
I could go on but I think you get the idea.
I definitely suffer from too many hobbies but they aren’t contingent on being around other people so this isn’t that bad for me. And having just written that I’m seeing it as a trend of this weeks posts. I have things to do, food on the fridge, a job that’s paying me, friends and family who are all (for the most part) healthy and safe. I’m considering myself very fortunate at this point in time.
I think I’m going to have more of a hard time going back to “normal” whatever that turns out to be.
My wife and I are both working from home.
She works in the health insurance sector and is basically slammed with work all day long.
I do graphic design and print production in the financial sector and have very little if any work coming in.
While this whole thing is weird for all of us I’m finding it interesting how some professions are completely inundated and others are looking for things to do.
I know when things get back to “normal” I’m going to have quite the full plate but for now I’m painting and playing piano and watching documentaries while still being paid. I feel a bit guilty. I know people that are out of work and there’s nothing they can do until this is all over. And there’s a chance that their former jobs might not even be available. I can’t begin to comprehend how scary that must feel with everything else going on.
I feel very lucky right now.
So this morning during my daily meditation my mind wandered as it is prone to do and I started thinking about the current state of the world. Right now everything is in a bit of flux to say the least but we all know it will right itself and everything will return to normal.
This idea has led to a few conversation recently where some people feel like this COVID-19 pandemic will change people and perhaps they will be more mindful about their health and hygiene moving forward. I think those people will be the minority and most people will go back to exactly how they were when this whole thing started.
But that is going to take come time.
My wife works in the healthcare industry and was taking a coronavirus quiz (yes, these things actually exist) and one of the questions was “Which of the following are you more likely to contract the virus?” The answer was having a package delivered as the virus can live on cardboard for up to three days.
So how long after we’re given the “all clear” will we stop viewing everything around us as a potential threat? How long before we just embrace a friend without the initial thought of maybe just an elbow bump? It’ll be a while but I know we’ll get there.
It’s like when I was 24 and had major surgery done as part of my cancer treatment. For a while walking was a chore but then one day while crossing the street a noticed a car coming around the bend and I quickened my pace to a jog. And then I thought “holy shit – I can jog!” It was something that I didn’t realize I could do again until I just did it. I think that’s how all of this is going to play out.
Until then don’t touch me.
There was a period in time where I found making my bed every day just plain stupid. There really wasn’t ever a point in making it neat if I was only go to mess it up the next time I cam back to it.
Now that I’m older and very much into “routines” I make the bed as soon as I get up (usually) and it’s the first piece of business I take care of in my day. It does give a slight feeling of satisfaction but I appreciate coming back to a neat bed at night when I settle down at the end of the day.
But it goes beyond all of that. I realize that if you take care of what you’re supposed to it sets a precedent for everything else in your life. I can look back through periods of my life where I wasn’t the best version of myself I could have been.
I was that un-made bed.
I realize that all of this bed making now is just an extension of who I am now. Just understanding that makes me want to continue to try to be the best that I can be. I’m always a work in progress. Perhaps I should also change the sheets once in a while.