Musings from the Bunker 4/2/20
These times are extraordinarily difficult. The greatest sacrifices are borne by health care workers, the delivery people, those being furloughed from jobs, and the most needy among us. People have lost jobs, health, and lives and more will feel loss. But just because the struggles do not fall equally on all does not diminish the fact that those suffering less still are suffering.
The fact people have cancer doesn’t diminish the pain experienced by someone with a broken bone. That metaphor applies here. Assuming we don’t find ourselves in a hospital with this thing, we all are suffering the equivalent of a broken bone. Being isolated from family and friends, having life upended, suffering financial stress, and just the fear and worry this pandemic fosters, all are a trial for everyone. Like a broken bone it’s painful, but in the end we should get through to the other side.
THE GOOD NEWS—WE’RE BACK IN KINDERGARTEN
For those of us who are working from home and have extra time due to the lack of a commute or a reduced workload in some ways are back in Kindergarten. We have been hamsters on the wheel, furiously spinning faster and faster in life, longing to slow down. We often long for life to be simpler, where one could take the time to take life easier. Now, our wish has been granted. We are back to sitting, reading, napping and snacking (well, of course, when we aren’t working…). Throw in other pleasures of “alone time”—like exercise, binge watching, learning new skills, practicing hobbies, and playing games. Basically for much of the day we’re back in Kindergarten, when our biggest worry was snack time.
In some sense we all have been longing for a time to get off the merry-go-round and take time off. Now it’s here—just not at the time or circumstance of our choice. We can lament this situation or we can embrace it. Perhaps we need to shift our mind-set to see this as a vacation we’ve been longing for. We don’t need to go to the airport, spend the money, run ourselves ragged, all to “get away from it all.” Now we just need to figure out how “get away from it all” in our homes. And we should make the best of it.
But it’s not so simple. When the fun of staying at home for a while gives way to tedium, which may give way to futility or anxiety. It’s important to remember that we are going through the same emotions. And these feelings no doubt will ebb and flow for at least the next month. While Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (https://www.biography.com/scientist/elisabeth-kubler-ross) catalogued the stages of grief, she never compiled the stages of the “shelter in place” we are experiencing. Had she done so, she might have listed:
Loneliness/lack of purpose
Establishment of rhythms / schedules
Finding the novelty and fun again
The challenge, I think, is getting past all of the feelings that are caused by lack of control and the need to comply with unfamiliar rules and get comfortable with where we are. There is a freedom in acknowledging that much of what’s happening is beyond our control and moving past that.
And because we are in the information age, we have the help we would not have had even ten years ago. The opportunities for entertainment and social growth abound. Many great cultural experiences can be found on-line. Want to go to a museum and see the latest exhibit? Want to attend the symphony? Want to take an architectural tour? It’s all here.
The feeling of lack of control and general anxiety are not unique—they are ubiquitous and they will end. In the meantime, we should enjoy our Kindergarten time.
I’ve shared some amazing museum visits in prior Musings. A favorite activity of our family has been museum visits, either at home or when we travel. Here are links to the Whitney Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago, two of America’s finest:
For the El Greco exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3n6NGJT-Sg&feature=youtu.be&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&utm_campaign=base&utm_content=base-el-greco-03-25-20
STAYING IN SHAPE WITHOUT THE GYM
We know how important it is to stay in shape, in any circumstance, but particularly now. Exercise boosts the immune system. Exercise relieves stress. Exercise improves attitude. Walking the dog six times a day can get old and our favorite gyms are closed. For those with Peloton bikes, Andrea and I have found their workouts “on the floor” can be great. Apparently there is a free 90 day period available.
There also are many other options available on line. Here are a few of the more interesting options:
Curated workouts for high school athletes: https://docs.google.com/document/d/10WsemNm_8_0ztN0-CDUhwtGhkH8_G63_lWn3T8GgYYk/edit
This is the BEST!!! Andrea Dodato has prepared a “no excuses” workout, requiring the user to bring (a) a good attitude, (b) a sense of humor, and (c) rolls of toilet paper… https://youtu.be/Om1HAQ83bBg
HOW WE CAN HELP PROVIDE MASKS FOR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS
We are all reading about the challenges facing healthcare professionals—crazy hours, unreasonable burdens, and real human tragedy. What most never expected was that there would be a shortage of gear to keep them safe. Dennis Mulhaupt is working with a grassroots effort to provide much-needed masks to the doctors and nurses at the front line in the Los Angeles area (including UCLA and Cedars Sinai). The group is spearheaded by young professionals in the technology sector. We gave to them yesterday. Here’s the link to this important initiative:
SADLY, BEING #1 ISN’T ALWAYS A GOOD THING…
No doubt we are in for a tough slog in April. We’re all preparing to settle in for a tough month of news as this virus progresses. The adage “comes in like a lion; goes out like a lamb” is supposed to describe the weather in March. While I’m not sure April will go out like a lamb (it likely will take longer), perhaps the end of the month will have the little boy in the cartoon above returning slowly to earth. Let’s hope…