Hollie Grimaldi Flores: Hanging on
Has anyone else added a good cry to their morning routine? (Asking for a friend!) As we work our way through a solid eight months of adjusting to life in a pandemic, I have noticed a growing number of people running short on patience, coping skills and hope. Sometimes those people are me! While there is much to debate, the emotional toll restrictions are taking is not one of them. I think people (for the most part) rose up to meet the challenges at the beginning of the pandemic, but the almost constant changes, the growing number of people testing positive, and the uncertainty of when this will all come to an end, has many at the end of their collective ropes. I think my mother would have suggested I tied a knot and hang on, but the more realistic solution is to make more rope!
Today is a day to count our blessings. With that in mind, I have been working to bring some positives to the forefront.
While gathering in person is limited in number, ideally, you are with at least a few loved ones. If not, technology affords many of us the luxury of visiting with family and friends around the country and the world in face to face interactions. When my daughter moved to Australia several years ago, I was so thankful for the technology that allowed us to see each other using social media. Now we have several options to video conference our way into the homes of relatives both near and far. Like many, I have actually reconnected with friends with video chats far more this year than ever before. It simply had not occurred to me to use those tools before the shutdown happened earlier in the year. Now it is an obvious way to connect with colleagues, friends and family, no matter the zip code.
On the flip side, a positive on travel restrictions and limited gatherings is a valid excuse to avoid seeing those who might make the holiday less pleasant! “Sorry Uncle, we won’t be able to listen to you regale us with your insipid theories on government spy programs” – or something like that! It’s an unexpected plus in the current reality that is full of so many negatives.
This holiday let’s try focusing on compassion and kindness. The people who interact with the public daily must be bone tired. Parents of school age children, exhausted. Those who can no longer make a living, food service owners and workers who have had to back pedal and shift too many times since March, as well as those in the medical, emergency and public safety fields, all deserve the greatest amount of grace and gratitude.
I see us, as humans, becoming short tempered and impatient. I consider myself to be a fairly stable person, but the lack of an end date and the constant shift from one level of caution to the next is taking a toll. I always thought I was the type to just “roll with it” but it seems I am not good at playing the part of “wheel.” I am bumping along, doing my best, as are so many.
While many of us are riding the wave of emotion perpetrated by the spread of the virus, the misinformation or lack of information, the fear mongering and the opposite of that, and all of the many variables at the center, is a virus. Let’s not forget that one fact.
While the deadliness of this disease will be ultimately determined in hindsight, it has hopefully helped us with our perspective on what really matters in this life. This holiday season, more than any I can remember, I am focused on what I have and not what I lack. I am eager to express affection and gratitude.
The number gathered around our table today will be small. Far from extended family, only a few of us will gather. No one is bringing a date. Some have opted out completely. We won’t be enjoying the company of the family matriarch or the newest members of our clan. Optimistically those of us who do come together, do so with a bit more gratitude and a bit less obligation.
Our family tradition has always been to go around the table and share for what we are grateful. There has rarely been a surprising moment but occasionally a heartfelt sentiment is shared. This year, there seems to be so much negative to dwell on, I want to express my thankfulness for the things I used to take for granted: good health, good friends, the love of family, a room over our head, a means to meet our financial obligations, and enough to eat, just to name a few.
There are many uncertain days ahead, but I have faith if we can stay connected and remind each other we are in this collectively, our generous community will come together to support those who cannot do it for themselves. We are a resilient bunch. It’s been proven many times over these past several months. We adapt. We make the best of difficult circumstance. We help those in need. We take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.
While I certainly did not see clearly what 2020 had in store, I can say I am grateful to be doing it here – in this community, with these people I have come to know and love. I know the tough times are far from over, but there is also a lot of good happening, if you take a moment to look around, you will see there is still plenty of rope!
Hollie Grimaldi Flores is a Nevada County resident and freelance writer for hire, as well as a podcaster at HollieGrams. You can hear her episodes at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1332253. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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