how to … do this thing. still.

Maybe not so relevant now that restrictions of the Shelter in Place orders are starting to be relaxed, but I’d still like to share some of the articles I’ve read along the way that seemed insightful/helpful/worth sharing – if nothing else at this point than for the record…

From April 16, 2020
How to Keep Your Energy Up When You Don’t Know When the End Is – tips from the winner of the Quarantine Backyard Ultra – a running race where competitors completed a 4.2 mile loop every hour. Until only one person was left. Not like a fixed distance course, where you can go faster to finish sooner, or a XX-hour race, where there is a fixed time, and you are trying to complete the most amount of laps, but a fixed distance, once an hour, until no one else completes. Yeah. When will it end?!

From April 23, 2020
Two Errors Our Minds Make When Trying to Grasp the Pandemic
Disappointment and uncertainty are inevitable. But we don’t have to turn them into suffering. The author points out two potential cognitive errors – confusing disappointment with regret, and confusing uncertainty with risk, and gives some tips on how to counteract them. I found the discussion of the distinction between uncertainty and risk particularly helpful.

Relating the the disappointment aspect, a friend of a friend posted that she had removed events that were not going to happen from her electronic calendar and put stickers over the entries on the paper calendar so she wouldn’t be reminded of them and dwell on “oh, we WOULD HAVE been doing X right now…” It seemed like a practical way of moving into and accepting the new reality. There was also another headline I saw along the lines that the new secret to success is having no expectations.

Which reminds me of that saying about how the secret (or a secret – although I suppose not anymore, since I’m telling you) is having low expectations, since that way they are more likely to be met or even exceeded…

And… all you 5-year plan people!!! Anyone have pandemic in there?! Not to say planning can’t be good, but this definitely highlights the fact that there are things out of our control.

Then to, in this post, from Contents May Have Shifted, “A few days ago (though who can keep track?) my sister said something in an email that I keep thinking and thinking about. In the midst of acknowledging that her kids are cranky and she misses us, she wrote: “Each day that passes I feel less like I ever want to leave the house again.” It gave me the shock of recognition, and I wonder how many of the rest of you are feeling it, too. I sort of enjoy my weekly trips to the store, but they also fill me with unpleasant energy and make me glad to get home with my loot. Or: going into quarantine was a big adjustment, and now that I’ve made it, I feel like I can’t possibly go through another transition to come out. Is that it? I have weird feelings, like that quarantine will end without my having really gotten the good of it, whatever that might mean. Abstractly, I yearn for daycare to reopen, to have my work time again, to begin to plan forward and work toward goals and all the other things that supposedly constitute a life. But it’s been a little thrill to take a break from them, to let oneself off the hook, to feel you’ve done enough at the end of the day, just to have gotten through another day of this.” (emphasis added)

That really resonated – how we made this big change, and had “figured it out” and had a new routine, and especially now, with things starting to open up, there’s a whole new terrain to negotiate. With the shutdown it seemed more clear what was OK and what was not, and now there’s a whole new set of figuring to do. Not just what is allowed or not, but again what do I feel OK about doing or not doing.

This seemed like a good article on the risks of various summer activities. And… will we ever be able to have a public indoor life again?

Anyway, although restrictions are being lifted, I haven’t seen any huge changes in my day-to-day activities. Or maybe I should say I haven’t really made any changes – I am not rushing to go back and do some of the things that are now allowed. I have not yet (knock on wood) been in any situations where it has felt crowded to a lack of distancing capability. For the most part people are masking up in public. But I do have some concern that some people will start to think that since restrictions are being lifted that means that the virus is no longer a concern. Of course only time will tell on that, and I have no control over what other people think, so yeah, let that one go. And don’t obsess about the following graph…

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