I’ve had this rattling around in my brain for quite a while now, and today I felt the need to write it down and share. Maybe you can relate, maybe not. Regardless, it’s been too long since I wrote in my blog and this seemed like too many thoughts to put into a social media post, so here goes nothing.
I recently had someone reaching out asking me to share “the good side” of how COVID-19 has affected my life. I’ve also been on multiple Zoom calls with friends where everyone asks the rhetorical question “What’s new?”. I seem to have the same response for both: nothing.
Since the stay home order, nothing good has come that I didn’t already have. Now how selfish does that sound, right? I’m not writing this for people to tell me they are sorry, or to tell me things will get better, or to suggest the positives. And I want to be VERY clear that I am SO THANKFUL for my life, and how I still have a safe, warm home, food, health, my job, family, and friends. What more could I ask for? I’m writing this to share that it’s ok to be sad. Everyone has a different experience. Everyone comes from a different background. Everyone has a different perspective. It’s not fair to feel that because there’s a homeless man living in the park next to my apartment who has one leg, that I have no right to feel sad about my situation. Or yours. It’s important to allow yourself to feel from your perspective. I also think it’s important to have empathy and compassion for others, no matter what their story is.
I wrote an article about Balancing Compassion over a year ago, and I feel like it’s relatable now more than ever.
I try to live a simple life, with the mindset of living like I’m going to live forever. I also wrote a little piece about that years back. But I’m not gong to lie – these past few months have been a struggle
Last night I had the honor of watching the Trail Running Film Festival, virtually, with many of my friends texting back and forth during the show. It has been my favorite, most enjoyable experience to date since we have been restricted with Stay Home orders and all of our parks and public lands were closed.
One of the films, put on by #TheWildOnesFilms, was about the positive experiences you’ve had with your pets since our stay home orders were put in place. It was wonderful, and some of the people I used to run with weekly in group runs were featured. I was asked to submit something about how great it’s been for Snow and I since we’ve been stuck at home together. I just couldn’t do it. I spent weeks rolling ideas and words around in my head of what to share, what to submit, and everything felt like a lie. The person who asked me to share was being supportive, telling me to just share how I feel, talk about all the extra time I get with my dog now, etc… I couldn’t think up anything without tears welling up.
Those that know Snow Beau and I know that my dog is my world. I lost him for 28 days and had never felt that level of grief in my life. He’s a rescue, so I have no clue what the first 4 months of his life was like. He is, quite literally, afraid of everything, unless we are on trails together. I think he loves the trails more than I do. He loves to run, also maybe more than I do, and we would run in the city during the week together, but always with groups. He loves familiarity, loves seeing his friends, loves sitting on my lap at the brewery while people take turns giving him treats… He loves car rides (well, the end of them) even more, because he knows there’s always an adventure when we stop. He even recognizes a trail head as we get close.
Since the stay home order, things haven’t been “better” for Snow and I. Yes, we are healthy and safe and I am beyond thankful for that, but it still hasn’t been easy. I worked from home before this, so I’m not spending more time with him. In fact, we spend less time because we aren’t running on trails or camping or going to breweries together. He stopped enjoying road runs because there are so many things that scare him when we’re out. Sometimes he’s refusing to go out at all. When he does decide he wants to run, I’m desperately trying to find routes in the city that are less traveled and may have footpaths off to the side that are easier on his paws. He often hides in his crate or a corner of the apartment for hours. He’s afraid of the TV, so if I chose to watch anything that means he’s hiding somewhere else. Often I just watch things on my laptop so he’ll sit next to me.
Snow doesn’t understand why he can’t go running up to friends to say hi when we cross paths. He doesn’t understand why we’re running past all the places we used to run to. He doesn’t understand why he doesn’t get to go to trails anymore, and I can’t explain that this is just temporary, hopefully.
When you try to live a very simple life, and the only thing that truly brings you peace and solace are taken away, it’s hard. It doesn’t matter how “good” you have it. It doesn’t mean you’re not thankful for what you have if you’re struggling or sad. It just means you’re human, and trying to adapt to something that no one in the world expected would happen.
I have been enjoying hearing about how my friends are doing, adapting, and coping with this “new normal” in positive ways so much. It also has brought me some comfort when I hear about their struggles, how they are trying to overcome them, or even just accepting them. It helps me feel like I’m not alone. At least not with how I’m feeling.
So what positives in my life have come from this COVID-19 era? Maybe just more appreciation in general. Appreciation for the simple life I had growing up, and my parents teaching me how to cook and care for myself with basic essentials. Appreciation for the ability to enjoy simple things and be happy with less. Appreciation for loving myself, and being comfortable in my own skin. Appreciation for the companionship of a scared little rescue dog who just wants to run on trails and sit on my lap. Soon we’ll be back to our normal, simple life, and looking forward to our next adventures.