Change is hard for me, even under the best of circumstances. I’m a planner at my core, so one way I deal with change is to plan ahead. My paper planner is my lifeline; each future event and special occasion penciled in with a sense of anticipation. My pencil has come in handy in 2020…. the year that everything is getting erased!
I hesitate to write how hard the coronavirus pandemic has been for me as so many others out there have it harder! I’m not a nurse or doctor, nor am I a grocery store clerk or a small business owner. I am healthy (thank God!), and so are my loved ones. But I think we can admit, this is hard on everyone in different ways! I recently read, “We are not all in the same boat, but we are weathering the same storm,” and couldn’t agree more!
On March 12th, I packed up my desk to ride out the coronavirus, working from home. Like most Americans, I soon realized that what was supposed to be temporary would become my new normal. Days were spent balancing conference calls with preschool lessons and work projects with whiney children. It was a lot to juggle, but with the help of my husband, we found our groove.
During week 3, I received the tough news that my position was being furloughed. I signed up for unemployment for the first time in my 18 years of working. My career was put on hold, not because of a well-planned out career move, but because of elements completely out of my control. The pause button was pressed for me, and the only choice I had was to settle into my new life at home.
I now find myself straddling two separate mind frames. One day I’ll be itching to get back to work. The next, I’m grateful for the extra time I’ve been given with my twins. They are entering kindergarten next year, and these are moments I’ll never get back!
Being a working parent was a conscious choice I had made. I enjoyed my commute time in the mornings, listening to my daily podcasts in the car, sipping my hot coffee. I looked forward to my adult conversations with coworkers and the sense of accomplishment I felt after completing a tough project. I’m not sure I would have chosen the identity of a stay-at-home parent on my own, but since I’m here, I’m trying to consciously soak it all in!
My new daily routine includes getting involved in my twin’s distance learning. I’ve taught them how to ride bikes and play hopscotch. We go on scavenger hunts. I even helped my husband with the yard work… all things I never could have done from my office!
I don’t know if my job will be waiting for me on the other side of this. I don’t know if I’ll be able to find a new job during a recession. I don’t know if I’ll go in a completely new direction, pivoting to a different field or explore a passion I’ve shuttered like photography or blogging. I don’t know if I’ll be able to spend more time with my kids in the future. The unknowns are endless, which for a planner like me, is unnerving!
If you were to look in my planner today, you’d simply see a bunch of eraser smudges and question marks. The rest of the year….and possibly beyond, is an open book which is scary as hell, but on a good day, also kind of exciting.