Here’s the thing. I was happy. Happy with the status quo of my life. And then, suddenly and with no warning, all of that changed. I’ve been forced to make this massive life change, and to be honest I’m struggling with the transition. Within one hour, I was told to work from home until further notice. Today marks 105 days at home.
On some level, I can appreciate the benefits of this change. I have watched every movie and episode, cleaned every forgotten closet, and sewed every remnant scrap in my fabric stash. But somehow, the stress far outweighs the moments of peace. In one day, and without my consent, my life was forced into a painful transition. A new phase began, and the old life gone. No preparation. No warning. Without my permission.
I realize that change is inherent to life. But normally I am the one seeking change, carefully planning every stage of the transition. When change finds you, instead of you seeking it out, your left picking up the pieces of where you’ve been, while trying to blindly place them into an unknown future.
Research says social support is the key to managing a stressful life change. So, it’s ironic that we lost both our normal life and access to our social support system within the same hour. While we ruminate on how we’ve managed successful transitions in the past, all of the normal resources we might call upon to navigate this change are gone. It’s like our toolbox is suddenly empty and we’ve been asked to build a shopping mall in the jungle with a single toothbrush. I missed the MacGyver training session. I am woefully unprepared for this life change.
And yet, what continues to annoy me the very most is that technically, technically, nothing has changed except my physical location and that smallest part of my daily routine that involved transportation. Work continues, untransported. School continues, untransported. Marriage and motherhood continue, untransported. My life is completely the same, just simply, untransported.
I am simply here, untransported. Yet somehow this tiny detail that leaves me homeward bound has upset the very fabric of my entire life. It’s like someone pulled the picnic cloth off the table. The feast is still here to be eaten, the grass is still green, the sun still shining, the flowers still blooming, and the ants are still waiting to carry the crumbles away. All that is missing is this relatively insignificant splash of red buffalo check fabric; and yet somehow, it’s not a picnic anymore. The picnic became ordinary and lost all of it’s magic.
So, this resulting question remains. Does transportation, and the human interaction it promises, truly define the magic of our lives?
I have come to a mixed conclusion. Yes, to a large degree movement does define our daily lives. However, this transition to working from home is, in and of itself, also a form of movement. Life invariably involves turning points and adaptations. And this is one such change. Transportation does not define our lives. Magic can be found in any place.
And so, if you are also struggling with the changes that COVID has brought to your door, I give the following advice. Yes, this is a major life change. You are starting a new phase of your life. Recognize and accept that your life is in transition. You are at the start of a new adventure, don’t spoil it with too many questions. Treat yourself with a little kindness during the transition. Spend some time goal-setting. Daydream and imagine what this new phase of your untransported life could look like, think of what you can accomplish, and then find a way to make it happen.
In short, when life resumes and your colleague asks “what did you do during isolation?” what will be your response? Think of all the magical things you could do with this untransported time you have been given.