Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Keep Life Simple

Now, it's a well-established fact that none of us have ever experienced anything quite like this planet-wide Covid-19 crisis we've got on our hands. 

Granted, we handled 9/11. That was a doozy. The whole world has dealt with terror on a large scale in the past few decades.

Before that, you'd have to go back to World War II to find a multi-continent catastrophe that compares in scope and scale. And most of us were not around in those days.

So there's no doubt that we are all on new and shaky ground as we tiptoe through this pandemic.

Upstairs in my bedroom, I keep a triangular shelf. Several years ago, I saw it at Target and fell in love. So I bought it. The fact that it was designed for children did not bother me one little bit. 

But in a way, on a more personal, private scale, anyone who's lived for more than a few years has experienced some similar kind of emergency existence.


Definitely life throws us a variety of challenges that force us to retreat into a protective posture, that demand that we make some terrible predicament our highest priority, that drop us to our physical, emotional, and financial knees. 

That is yet another nice thing about living longer. These gut-punching traumas lose some of their power when you've already survived a few.

What we learn from our previous challenges helps us face the new ones ahead.

And of all the things I've learned, one of the best is this:

Keep life simple. 

At first, I imagined that I would fill the clever little shelves with a variety of treasures. My mind's eye saw small wooden boxes, miniature cats and dogs, a handful of air plants, and some of my beloved rock collection. 

From what I see, we are all quickly picking up on that.

My husband told me today that there's a nation-wide jigsaw puzzle shortage.
My social media feeds are full of chatter about the joy of making things. 
My grocery store struggles to keep flour on the shelves as home bakers kick into gear.
My neighborhood streets are jammed with walkers, bikers, and scooterers.  

My own life is slowing and shifting and settling down.

For a year or two, I struggled to bring that vision to reality. But I could never lay my hands on the tiny treasures that apparently lived only in my mind. Several of the shelves sat empty, and the air plants I bought starved for sunlight on this shelf so far from the window, and in the last few months of winter, I gave up and moved them closer to their beloved son.

In the meantime, my rock collection kept growing and while I kept my favorites here, the extras had no place to call home.

Because here's the thing.

We don't need any more stress.

We've got plenty of Covid-related things to worry about, so the rest of our lives should be as streamlined and simple as possible.  

So my wish for the world today is this:

Keep life simple.
Let go of what feels complicated, if that's possible.
Trust that everything is going to be okay.
Remember that sometimes the things we fear most end up being blessings in disguise. 
Take this time to love the people who matter most to you, and to live in the moment. 

Then one day last week, it dawned on me: I was making this way too hard. Impulsively, I emptied the shelves and gave them a spanking good dusting. The non-rock treasures were moved to a new, much smaller home which they took to immediately. Then I gathered all my rocks together and gave them the run of the place. 

This new arrangement is so much simpler. And so much better. 

Though sometimes it's hard to believe, this wild coronavirus ride will not last forever. Sooner or later, we will all throw open our front doors, leap into our cars, and head off into the world. Normal will come again. 

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