• Jody Kussin

In Times Like These #19 4-2-2020

Are we starting to adjust to this as a ‘new normal?’ I’d say no, and that’s fine. This is still very new, and there is absolutely nothing normal about these times. Every day presents its own unique challenges and opportunities, so the ‘one day at a time’ plan is the one to which to subscribe. In this brave new world, I find myself initiating new behaviors as well as ceasing activities, sometimes in the span of a short time period. For example:

You get the idea! It’s a fine time to try something new, but it’s not necessarily true that given all this ‘free time’ (is it really? free?) we can simply get good at something just because we try it. Let’s keep things in perspective and really embrace our mastery on the micro level. Were you nice to your spouse even when you were seething because s/he keeps asking Alexa to turn up the volume and you would like peace and quiet? Were you sweet to your teen even when s/he was snarky to you and said, “I cannot stand being cooped up with you people for one more second!?” Have you figured out ZOOM and google hangouts and WhatsApp and Facebook video? Did you not only do the laundry, but also folded it AND put it back into drawers? Then pat yourself on the back, for each and every one of these. You got this!

There are, however, some things worth taking on in these challenging times. Here is dTip of the day. Yes, dTip: DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Nope. Even though it seems it is about you, and even though it is directed at you, it’s not really all about you. Although it feels like it, when your four-year-old has her fourth tantrum, it is not about you. When your 12-year-old refuses to build a complicated Lego set you spent hours ordering online and managing to get delivered against all odds, because your 12- year old LOVES complicated Lego sets, it’s not about you. When your 17- year old will not schedule in a weekly call to grandma, even given their love for grandma, it’s not about you.

We are all navigating through each day to the best of our ability. Our strength comes from the fact that, as they sang in HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, “We are all in this together.” Do you have relatives in other countries? They are in this with us. Do your children have friends they made in camp who live somewhere else in California or the U.S.? They are in this with us. Neighbors, colleagues, the kid in high school who was always bugging you? Family, extended family? All in this together.

The great thing about us humans is that we have SOME Golden Retriever in us. Some of us can access it more readily – the ‘YAY, it’s a new day, I’m here with my pack, I hid 12 tennis balls in the yard yesterday, and I will be going on a zillion walks’ mentality. If we can channel our inner golden retriever, and smile a wide grin, it helps. We can still feel our feelings of fear or loss or anger. But, let’s also focus on “life is good” sidewalk chalk messages for all the folks walking our streets. You can even leave a blank, “Life is Good because ______________________” and we can fill in those blanks. Picture if this had occurred before we had the www for instance….life is good because of the internet!

Mostly, life is good because we have one another. We can share our experiences and our feelings and our ideas and our laughter. We can be with our pack in our den. For better for worse. For good times or bad. We are in this together.

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