Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Focusing on the positive
According to my calculations, this is day 60 of the stay at home order issued by the governor. It has been a rollercoaster ride few of us would ever stand in line to experience. For me, it has been an ever-changing kaleidoscope of emotions. Even with the recent news that Nevada County will be allowed to move into the looser “Phase 2” of the order, it appears we still have a long way to go before we can get to whatever will become our new normal. At the beginning of the year I chose “possibilities” as my word. This is not the 2020 I had envisioned.
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a social creature. A self-described hugger, this has not been an easy time, but I am doing my best to follow the rules. I realize not everyone is feeling the level of stress and anxiety I have been managing. I know a couple who are barely affected by the order – their lives already quite self-contained — who still feel the toll of imposed isolation. Even the most introverted among us must admit to being ready to return to a world free of the threat of contracting a life-threatening illness each time we step outside the door.
My own husband might be considered a bit of a homebody. Before the pandemic, he primarily engaged in the world through his work, his dedication to running and his love for coaching varsity football. His social life was primarily dictated by me and when given the choice, he often chose home over outside functions. Today I am guessing he would happily go with me to about any event I had on the calendar! He has been working from home and is missing his team – the one he works with as well as the one he coaches. He is managing the underlying stress with exercise and an occasional lap around the local golf course.
I, on the other hand, am battling the spectrum between despair and gratitude. I spent a few weeks grumbling, resisting and arguing against the order, with an equal amount of time looking for silver linings.
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I had more than one rant over the inequities of what is considered “essential.” How is it that I can not get an eye exam so I can buy contact lenses (which I actually need in order to see) but Fido can get a shampoo, cut and pedicure? The dentist is closed except in an emergency but somehow picking out tile and carpet for a remodel is completely OK. Believe me, I appreciate the “essential” designation that gives many local businesses the ability to keep the cash flowing, but that does not mean it all makes sense. I take the blame for not getting my eyes checked before the prescription expired. Had I known the shutdown was coming, I would have gotten my head examined as well.
Finding there was little I could do to remedy my own situation, I decided to stop looking at the negatives and focus on some of the good stuff. I saw people getting organized, learning new skills, completing projects and creatively engaging in the world. A friend and I started a weekly meeting on a social media platform focusing on topics that might be helpful while social distancing. My book club gathered – online—and it was wonderful to see each other, discuss our book and commiserate. My Friday night social group that used to meet at a local venue also moved online with our own libations and snacks. We found the company to be as engaging as ever and the service above reproach.
Somewhere amid all these online get-togethers, one of my close pals from high school suggested we set up a virtual meeting. That idea has turned into a weekly chat with my lifelong friends. During our reign at our alma mater, we were a group of about ten – some closer than others — but a primary cluster of young girls with a few boys sprinkled in for good measure. As with many high school relationships, many of us lost touch. Several of us moved away. We would hear about this one or that one when visiting, but somehow, we never managed to get everyone in the same place at the same time again. That is, until the shutdown occurred. Amazingly it took a pandemic to reunite us – in the same virtual room — for some of us for the first time since graduation. It is by far the most positive thing that has happened to me over the last couple of months.
It is my sincere hope that an effective vaccine or vaccines will soon be developed and a year from now this will all be something we will be looking at in our rear view mirror. In the meantime, though, I cannot see as clearly as I would like, I am going to focus on these gifts of connection. Now, where did I leave my glasses?
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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