Note to Self

Okay. We’ve done what we can in the way of preparation. This bat-shit crazy virus is going to play out with or without our permission. We’ll do what we can to protect ourselves and our loved ones.

One of the lies I used to tell myself was that worry is a form of prayer. It’s not. Worry will kill you. It will tangle itself into a massive ball of projections and what-ifs until it no longer fits inside your head, but begins to take over your whole body in the form of ulcers, autoimmune disorders, nervous conditions, maybe cancer.

Don’t let that happen. Find your sacred space in this. Do it now, while you still can. I made a list of what I wanted to do with my worry time. It seemed more sensible than following the stock market or watching the live virus map. This is not putting my head in the sand. This is a step back from insanity - maybe a couple generations back - to a time when we knew only what was happening in our village. A time when we didn’t have to concern ourselves with the misery of an entire planet. There was enough misery in our own back yard to contend with.

So I say, hunker down. Make your list. These are things on my list:

  • Prayer, any form that comforts.

  • Practicing the breathing exercises I just learned on YouTube. We breath twenty-three-thousand times a day, and most of it is done badly. Don’t hold your breath. Exhale like you’re pushing every nasty molecule from your lungs.

  • Continue my Babbel Spanish lessons. As a present to myself, and in solidarity with every immigrant in this country, I am going to become bilingual if it kills me. I owe it to humanity to attempt to communicate beyond my people.

  • Play board games every night with my grandchildren. Rummikub, Scrabble, Cribbage. We took out my grandmother’s Pokeno game, which she played every week for years with her girlfriends and my Aunt Betty.

  • Seriously doing my physical therapy – not just lying about it to my therapist. My neck and back feel better if I keep them moving.

  • Start going through my clothes. I swear I have a pair of tan corduroys from high school (which I’m clearly not ready to give up). I have three pairs of shoes that don’t kill my feet or back, and a closet full of hopefuls – seriously more like a basket full of deplorables. It’s time to lighten my life a little. That goes for the rest of the house as well. But hopefully this will be over before I have to tackle that.

  • The shed – enough said.

  • I’ve wanted a garden, like a full-out victory garden in my front yard. The kind of thing that makes people walk by and comment that I must have lost my mind. But what the hell are we growing grass for? A little bunny clover is about all we need. Four years ago I stopped putting weed killer, crabgrass treatment and anything harmful in my yard. I love bees. I love birds. I’m a big fan of the birds and the bees. So maybe I’ll start tearing up my grass. I can invite people over to help – ask them to stay a social distance apart and take out their frustration on my lawn.

  • Pick up fallen tree limbs. Then do more physical therapy.

  • Really learn the map of the United States.

  • Organize my photos. Or pretend I’m from the pre-camera era when our memories were all we had.

  • Knit some booties for my new granddaughter who will be arriving in June <3

  • Spend time thinking about how little I need as long as my family is safe.

My last advice is to take a new slant on this. People used to brave the frontiers knowing there was danger at every turn. Combating this virus is a world adventure, a new frontier. We can each do our own small part: check on our neighbor, share our toilet paper, listen to the worry of others without taking it on, donate to the school weekend backpack program for children who have food insecurity.

Here's a list of food pantries you can donate to on Cape Cod. Google to find out what's available in your own town.

“When one has too great a dread of what is impending, one feels some relief when the trouble has come.”

– Joseph Joubert

“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere”

– Erma Bombeck

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