It’s been 78 days.
78 days since the new CEO said, “We are going a different direction.”
78 days since the school board closed school.
78 days since I stopped going anywhere other than the grocery store.
78 days since Armageddon stopped seeming like a crazy possibility.
The end of March was, dare I say, happy. Sure, the way my job ended stunk. The truth was, I had been job searching for a while and had a good opportunity in the works. Not having work the first day my kids were home from school was serendipitous. (March 16th, 2020, for those who enjoy a good timeline.) I applied for unemployment, started calling all my friends and contacts to let them know I was on the market, and dove headfirst into setting up a livable routine for my two teenagers.
April was productive. My promising opportunity turned into a no-go thanks to Covid19, but I didn’t let that stop me. I wrote 45,000 words of a parallel-universe romance novel. (Thanks, Camp NaNoWriMo!) I spoke with my Executive Coach to make sure I was staying on track. I checked in with anyone I hadn’t yet spoken with and applied to a number of job listings. I walked. A lot. With the dog, without the dog, morning, noon and night.
And then came May. Friggin’ May. The dog ate my story board – WITH the push pins. We rushed him to the animal hospital. Draft Zero of my romance novel was now literally full of plot holes. My characters were dry and one dimensional and I wanted nothing to do with it.
Ignore the fact that every minute I spent on creative endeavors made me feel guilty for not job hunting. I couldn’t circle back with my contacts. It was too soon. The news around the economy, and healthcare in particular, was bleak. Physician practices and hospital systems are going to have to do some real soul-searching around their income statements – something with which I am all-too familiar. Where will that leave me — a highly paid healthcare executive in search of a job?
By the middle of May I was spending an unhealthy amount of time thinking about running out of money, dying, my husband dying, never getting a job again, hating any job I got anyways, the mental health of my teenagers, the political divisions within our country, the woeful state of my kids’ education, how to replace the windows in our house, and whether or not I could afford to buy a new face moisturizer. Some of these worries are legitimate – I think we are all a little worried about our mortality these days – and some border on insane (I can afford moisturizer and won’t run out of money tomorrow). But the bottom line is I had started to lose my optimism, along with my last shred of mental health.
Here we are. June 1st, 2020. The world is an uncertain place. I can’t control the economy, the course of coronavirus, how governments respond to this public health crisis, nor whether individuals choose to wear their damn masks (please, do!).
The only thing in my control is how I choose to live each day. I choose to document what I am doing, for the sake of my sanity. I choose to find things that bring me joy and write about them. And I reserve the right to call out things that make it tough to find peace of mind. I choose to be mindful and grateful and optimistic. Maybe not for the state of the world, but for how I respond to it.