“What do I plan to do once authorities lift the shelter-in-place order?” That’s what I ponder now.
I find my flights of fancy ever-changing. I start with what I used to do.
- I would like to leisurely go to a grocery store again and find what I need.
- I want to sit down at a restaurant of my choice to eat with my wife.
- I want to go back to the movies.
- I want to go to the library.
My shortlist will grow ever longer.
Why We Need to Expect
What do vacations do for us? I am not saying this is a vacation. Current circumstances make it an “anti-vacation.” The powers-that-be tell us what to do and where.
Research tells us the vacation itself does not provide enjoyment. Many people must return home to get any rest after a holiday. It’s not the vacation that gives pleasure.
What makes a vacation pleasurable is the anticipation. It’s getting the travel books and deciding where you will go and what you will do. In your mind, you are already on the Oahu beach or navigating corners on a Colorado ski slope.
The joy is in anticipating.
What It Teaches Us About COVID-19 Conditions
We are stuck in the middle of shelter-in-place orders. As I write this, over 50 million Americans are stuck in their plush prisons called home. We want normalcy back.
Each day flows into the next. We lose track of what day it is and loosen our grip on habits developed. With gyms, restaurants, salons, and stores closed, a disease-based whiteout has us in its grip.
How do we maintain our sanity? I’ve written about it in other places in this blog, but one way is to anticipate what you want to do when it is over.
Make a list of what you miss. Why do you miss it? It’s not enough to say, “go shopping.” What is it about shopping do you miss? Is it variety? Freedom? Choice?
Most of us don’t miss the actual activity. We miss what it gives.
For me, it comes down to the freedom to choose from moment to moment what I will do and where I go. My list is not the places, but what they represent for me.
What do you miss? What do you want to take part in again?
But we face some grave realities. Like a sweater stretched out of shape, you never get it completely back. I am sure there are businesses I like that will not be able to weather the storm and close. Stores will shutter. Factories may not make what I want. Life will change from this point forward in some way.
I don’t need to peg my hopes on a particular restaurant, store, or item. I need to look beyond it to what it provided me. I can find something to give similar satisfaction.
I look for the reason, not the activity.
One Last Thing
When life returns to “normal,” I need to change me.
I spend a little time each day thinking about what I need to change coming out of this. Are there things that I have done that, due to the closures, I quit doing? Do I still need to do them?
As I got into computers and technology in the early 1980s, MS-DOS was the operating system. It was great, but still developing. Sometimes, things￼ stuck. The answer was the “three-finger-solution” called Control-ALT-Delete. Pressing those three keys on a computer keyboard “reset” the computer. It turned it off and back on. Much got lost.
It’s time for life’s version of the “three-finger-solution.” It is the opportunity to reset lifestyles. What are you doing now you want to keep? What do I not miss?
Most of us have realized several things:
- We miss the human contact. If that’s true, add it to your life after COVID-19 rather than mindless stuff you did.
- We need sunshine. Then, alter your lifestyle to get more exercise outside. (It is a tonic for the soul.)
- We learn that too much screen time fries the brain. After this is over, we need to retool ourselves to limit screen time again. (Could the first two be great substitutes!)
I started a morning Facebook Live program called Morning Coffee. I will keep doing it once we return to “normal.” But that will change my morning routine. Can I keep doing what is right and drop what is trivial?
That’s the vital question coming out of shelter-in-place.
So, what are you going to do when it is all over?