When you reach a certain age, you start to believe that there are no great new experiences to be had, no bigger life surprises or meaningful lessons or emotions that you might feel. You become complacent. While I am not exactly saying that this is me, I can say that I never ever expected to go through an event such as a world wide pandemic. That was one I never anticipated, wanted or dreamed of. Kind of like a slap in the face by the opponent you were sure you defeated. Or like the sharp stinging pain in the tooth that you just had fixed while biting into the ice-cream.
The lessons that I learned from this is experience are as follows.
Lesson 1: No matter how many times you have a conversation with your kids about the necessity of hygiene or no matter how many different multi-media supported ways you try to make them understand how a virus or germs in general work and transmit, you will still catch them licking the wrappings of candy they just picked up from somewhere unclean, touch their faces with their unwashed hands or just put their fingers into their mouths for the hell of it. The best way to approach this is to consume large amounts of alcohol and try to forget about it.
Lesson 2: Our daily lives consist of different elements, but to group them up, these would be work/creativity, exercise, entertainment and sleep. These parts, whatever they are for you specifically, make us the people we are. For all parents out there the entertainment part is shrunk by the family part which is not always entertaining but more akin to work, but still, a very important part of our daily lives. When you manage to balance these properly, your mental and physical parts that make you as a person whole will work perfectly. Isolation and in fact any changes to our daily lives will interrupt these elements and throw them out of balance. The best way to avoid a total breakdown is to actively manage and search for an equilibrium even in non-typical situations. I firmly believe that successful management of these parts in our seven week isolation has enabled us to not just survive but in certain way even thrive. I have also seen that efficient management of these parts of our lives made us happy when we were traveling abroad as a family. If you are more of a visual person and do not care to take the time to read these lines, here is my favorite youtube person for explaining things:
Lesson 3: Learn to let go. In an individualistic world we live in, where the collective ideas have long since given way to individual interests and self-betterment for the sake of self, you have to be able to ignore all those people with whom you do not agree with. The pandemic, that was the source of tons of different conspiracy theories and crazy ideas about a world-wide hoax, down to just public showing of impatience against people that happen to think differently than you, is a situation when you just have to say: “Nope, I am not playing anymore!” I have stopped following many internet social platforms and even muted some friends´ groups for that same reason. And I am happier for it. Well, at least my blood pressure doesn´t go up while reading something that would seem complete stupidity to somebody that I would consider normal. There is always too many “I” in thoughts like these, so it is best to not deal with matters you have no control over.
Lesson 4: When you fail at all of the above, allow other people, preferably the people you love, to help you achieve them. I am lucky enough that I have my family to get me there, but mostly it is my wife. She is my anchor in many life currents that would otherwise sweep me away into uncertain waters. And there you have it, a sailing metaphor from a person that would not be dragged to a boat while there is still a breath in his lungs.
But enough about serious stuff. Yesterday we celebrated the Day of workers around the world, which has gained importance in the turbulent times we live in, with many people losing their jobs due to the coronavirus economic crisis. We celebrated the workers day by working. We took the whole week to put a fresh coat of paint in the apartment. But yesterday we decided to also paint the common hallway in our apartment building. The reason for it was that we wanted to give something to the immediate community we live in and basically to celebrate workers´ day with working for free for the benefit of all of us. I am still not sure if that was selfish or generous of us. Well, it doesn´t really matter, the hall is beautiful and we all can enjoy it better.
But it is also the ancient holiday of spring and I admit that I haven´t been as observant of spring(s) in the past as I have this year. Must be due to all that free time we had in the preceding weeks. I have shared some of the fine things we have seen in the nature lately, but here are some more of blooming and growing and hatching things we were able to find. Have a nice spring y´all.