Laugh Now Cry Later

I love Drake. In fact he was my favorite character on the Canadian drama “Degrassi: The Next Generation” (Jimmy!) and I have at least a dozen of his songs across playlists in my music collection. I’m not sure why I picked this one for this entry but it just felt appropriate for reviewing the year of the pandemic – laugh now, cry later.

My news-feed has been flooded with memories as people hit the year anniversary of the world going crazy and everything shutting down. I remember being scared – more so for my parents and friends on the front-lines than myself. I remember thinking ‘oh a few weeks at home won’t be so tough!’ – I love to work from home, how bad could this be? I remember posting these obnoxiously hopeful memes –

not canceled.jpg
not canceled.jpg

And I totally believed them…..until I didn’t. I saw friends get sick. I saw front line workers struggle to keep themselves safe. I saw how much it was affecting kids to not be with their friends. I saw people lose their fights and end up on ventilators – or worse, end up losing their battle all together. One day the world just stopped being normal and it’s almost like no one recognized or acknowledged that.

I have seen this quote around and it resonates so true –

“One day in your childhood, you and your friends went outside to play together for the last time and nobody knew it”.

At some point it became clear it just wasn’t safe to resume normal life and none of us knew that day had come. And all the while this was going on we had our own national or local or personal challenges to overcome…but this was the first thing I could ever think of that affected everyone globally. I have friends on every continent (minus Antarctica but that should be a goal!) and it was the one thing that we all had in common because we were all experiencing the effects of it in real-time.

It’s clear we all lost things in 2020; sacrificed time with friends and family, missed opportunities, missed events and in some awful cases missed the chance to say goodbye. The year truly took so much. However, I recently polled my friends to ask what they had gained during this time at home. The answers were great

The ability to buy my dream home

Hours with my kids including the ability to tuck my youngest in to bed

New business opportunities (shout-out to my friend Theresa MC and her Self-Care Cabaret)

More time to watch my young children grow up

The ability to make actual dinners and eat as a family

Time for hobbies I’ve always wanted to pursue

Closeness with my spouse that was definitely missing before – we both had 75-90 min commutes each way and very little free time during the week

For me this forced time at home allowed me to be there for me mom; visit anytime I was allowed, bring her things or chat whenever she needed me and now in working through my grief it gives me the space I need to heal. I’m not forced to put makeup on and show up at an office and smile. I can stay in my comfy clothes and say “Hey I’m here but it’s a no camera day” or “Hey I need some time away from technology” without feeling guilty. In fact In working through everything I’ve also been able to identify that I’ve just been living with and never discussing my high-functioning anxiety for years. I’m not a mental health expert, I don’t have a PhD but I have researched and discussed my mental health with professionals and friends alike over the last year WAY more than I ever did before (which was basically never). I know what things cause me to feel out of control and I know how to prevent myself from over-committing and burning out. It’s hard to set and maintain boundaries – especially when you have always been someone who handles things and now you need a time-out…but it’s for the best in the long run.

I hope you take something good away from this downtime and use it to reflect on what you choose to reincorporate in your life as it becomes safe. Just remember, not everything needs to come back!

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