Thursday, April 16, 2020

Things Can't Be Awesome All of The Time

        Sometimes inspiration can be found in the most surprising of places. Tonight I let my kids stay up way past their bedtime and watch too much TV.  I was trying to finish up one of my final papers of the semester and decided to stay in the same room with them and type while they were watching The Lego Movie 2 on Netflix.  I hadn't seen it before and wasn't paying much attention except to make an occasional glance towards the screen.  I stopped typing mid-sentence towards the end of the movie when I was so unexpectedly touched by the lyrics to one of the songs (to the tune of "Everything is Awesome" from the first movie) that I literally made my 12 year old rewind the movie and pause it while I got all of the words written down on my computer.

Everything is definitely not awesome in the world right now.  We are in the middle of a global pandemic which has drastically changed the economy and people's mental health- not to even mention the obvious fatalities and physical consequences of the widespread virus. 

On a personal level I'm making the transition to unexpectedly homeschooling my kids while trying to finish up my graduate degree which won't even have an official graduation ceremony because numerous plans have been cancelled, put on hold, or turned upside down.  

In addition to the world dealing with collective grief and loss surrounding this latest strain of the coronavirus, I had the heartbreaking experience of recently saying goodbye to my child and adolescent clients from my internship who have already experienced so much grief and loss in their short lives.  I felt guilty for their sakes but relieved that I can have more time to focus on the needs of my children who must be my first priority right now.

I keep vacillating between worrying about my own concerns and then feeling guilty that I'm not in more of a position to help others who are in crisis- specifically those who don't have the luxury of staying home from work because work means putting food on the table for their families or those who are staying home when home is not necessarily a safe place to be.  When it was announced that schools would be closed I immediately thought of the kids who count on school as their safe place (or at least a place to be fed when they may not otherwise be.)  "Child abuse rates are going to be on the rise" I told my husband.  Same with domestic violence.  What must it be like to have to be told to stay safe at home when home is more like a prison for some people?

Last week I finished up a course of immunosuppressant medication to treat an autoimmune flare-up because apparently when I don't admit that I might be experiencing some stress my body is sure to tell me.  I worry about people with underlying medical conditions and those who are more vulnerable, including my elderly parents and my in-laws in their locked down Assisted Living Center. I feel like my own immediate family and the members under my own roof are the only ones that I really have any semblance of partial control over.  In addition to the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, members of my household and residents of my state have also been dealing with the aftershocks from a recent earthquake (which isn't a usual occurrence since this isn't California!)  

All I can do is focus on what things I have control over and which blessings I can be grateful for.  Some days I do better than others.  It's just a fact that some days are going to be easier than others and I need to cut myself some slack on the days when I don't have the emotional or physical energy or motivation to get out of my pajamas, make three home-cooked meals for my family, find a way to be physically active, and organize every single cupboard or nook and cranny in my house while making sure that my kids complete their schoolwork in addition to keeping up with my own school assignments.

Some days you just have to let go of unrealistic expectations and come up with ways to go from "awesome" to "not bad" as these inspiring and reassuring lyrics from The Lego Movie 2 reminded me tonight: