Things have shifted in what feels a blink of an eye.
These days, it’s impossible to answer the question “how are you?” with a mere “great, thanks and you?” Instead, I find myself choosing my words carefully when answering that question, because the truth is that it’s been up and down, and everywhere in between.
Every day has brought new adjustments. As a healthy, functioning adult, I can barely wrap my head around all that is going on. Harder still has been communicating some essense of all this to my four year-old. It was only initially that he succumbed to boredom, unable to grasp why we couldn’t play with other children. He now seems to understand the need to isolate ourselves, and has adapted in a way that I’m only just beginning to.
Of vital importance to me has been to not succumb to the collective fear. I certainly have allowed it to take me into some dark places that have felt almost paralyzing. And yet, my years in the health and wellness industry have exposed me to enough teachers and tools to understand that while it’s important to feel my feelings, it is equally – if not more – important to move through and not to dwell in them. Time and time again, I’ve managed to pull myself back up into the light.
Because, as they say, life goes on. I still have a child to raise and bills to pay.
At the time that I am writing this, it feels like the dust has somewhat settled. It’s settled enough to see somewhat clearly and take a few steps forward. Mostly, it’s stirred my creativity and innovation, because collapsing into fear is simply not an option.
In the past, I have shared aspects of my co-parenting journey, in particular, our various attempts to have some kind of routine. Ever since our son was born, we’ve been winging it, and our lives have been non-stop changing for the last four years.
This whole thing hit just as we were beginning to carve out a flow. We recently pulled our child out of daycare, and while I’ve toyed with the idea of homeschooling, I know I am definitely not one of those moms that can manage what feels like the impossible task of having her child around 24/7 while managing a business and carving out alone time.
And yet, here we are.
We started our homeschooling yesterday, with a schedule and everything. To my wild surprise, it was the missing ingredient in our lives. Our day flowed, and by the evening, we had managed to do more in one day than we ever have before.
I am surprised by this, because even in the best of times, I’ve felt utterly defeated by all the juggling that I have to do. Accepting the fullness of our new reality has brought me to the one thing I’ve been longing for years: routine.
Although the word “routine” doesn’t quite resonate, it feels like we finally have encountered a “way of being” that allows for ritual. A way of living that allows for fine tuning, for improving, for showing up with presence and reverence.
One of my mentors recently shared the key to her productivity: working in 40-minute blocks, and taking 15-minute breaks in between each task. I’ve carried this into our new way of being, because in the past, when I would sit down to work, this often included having all sorts of browsers open, and my attention would be spread out all over the place. Now, whether it’s sitting down to teach my child how to write the letter “A,” or we hunker down in quiet time, the 40 minutes allows us to do exactly one task.
One of the downsides of being a single parent has been the loneliness that comes with the territory, such as not having someone to share the tough moments with, as well as those little gems that surface every now and again. In the past, I managed this loneliness by planning constant playdates and outings. My lifeline to deal with this loneliness has come in the form of meditation and spending time in nature, but mostly, it’s been the countless hours I’ve spent on the phone with people. Connecting, processing, and sharing. Knowing that amidst this loneliness, I am not alone. And trusting that, in a way none of us can comprehend yet, there is gold to be mined in all of this.