Pandemic Thoughts from NYC

Just as I was starting to pick my life back up again and “go direct” after my 2019 Retrograde, the world fell apart.  We were all sent to our rooms to reflect on who we are and what the f&*% we are doing.  But even I, who am on an eternal quest for self growth am having a hard time focusing on that.

As things were unfolding here in NYC, I was in a complete state of anxiety. I am a Meyers Briggs SJ who is ALWAYS prepared so, of course, I started acquiring things early (not hoarding because SJs also follow the rules and think about others.)  I would have mini moments of panic and run out to CVS in the middle of the day to get something I was running low on and then pop in to the grocery store just to make sure it was still stocked.  I worried about my brother who has been sick for two months and tried to convince my Dad to stay home while sending him lists of things to stock up on. I had a cough that I would normally write off as a chest cold or allergies but of course I googled symptoms and worried about it constantly.

The first week of March, I had a colonoscopy I had been avoiding for a year (super fun activity to go through while the world is devolving around you). While I was waiting to get rolled in to the procedure room, I overheard my doctor  say “It’s everywhere. It’s too late to stop this from spreading.”  I already knew this.  We are literally on top of each other here in NYC.  There is definitely no hiding from something we don’t know is coming after us.

Two weeks later, I went in to a panic when I got an email from my doctors office saying my follow up appointment was cancelled because the doctor was “not feeling well”.  Whaaaattt did that mean????!!!  Within an hour, my temperature was 99 degrees.  Cough…temperature rising….freaking out!  I took an Advil (before I heard you are not supposed to take Advil for COVID-19) and texted both my energy healer and sister in a panic.  They were both super helpful and within two hours, my temperature was back to normal.  Did I have Coronavirus for a minute and then it passed?  Or did my brain freak my body out?  We may never know unless I get sick or get an antibody test, but I am fairly certain I am not the only anxious person who is going through this a few times a week right? (BTW: I have not heard a word from my doctor’s office. No news is good news, I hope!)

Five days after the “fever” incident, a friend convinced me to go outside to get some fresh air.  After walking for an hour and climbing seven flights of stairs to avoid sharing the elevator, I was pretty sure that I was not sick.  Since then I have been (mostly) calm, working from home like I have for most of the past 10 years , with a ton more video calls than usual so I have to actually shower and put on a bra now. I continue to order in food so I can save my non perishables…just in case. (This grateful SJ, does not  mess around with being prepared AND she really hates cooking.)

It’s hard to focus on anything for very long. There is so much news to read and so many family members and friends to check in with.  It takes more energy to figure out how to safely get food and do laundry and exercise. Then I feel guilty that those are the only things I have to worry about so I write out all of the things I am grateful for over and over in my journal.  Then I do more scrolling and searching for what else I can do to help while listening to sirens outside and siting safely in my home so I don’t get sick or make anyone else sick.  I make online donations and share things on social media that are helpful or completely irrelevant.  I go for walks on the empty streets of NYC and have to remind myself that this is not a quiet Sunday morning in August. I can’t touch anything, I have to dodge people who get too close, and I can’t touch my face.

I can’t even bring myself to focus on TV.  Nothing seems worth my time and nothing has been able to keep my attention.  I haven’t had the energy to read or write.  It’s even harder to stay off social media now. We are all going through this together and that is the only place where we can all BE together.  At least that is what I am telling myself.  I have watched a surprising number of ex-bachelor contestant’s Tik Tok videos  and spent last Friday night watching three hours of an influencer’s blind date and the aftermath on an Instagram Live.  What is wrong with me?

We are all still processing the shock of what has hit us and adjusting to what (I believe) will be a long period of isolation and grief.  If it hasn’t hit you yet, don’t get complacent. It’s coming. Be careful and get ready.

I finally got myself focused to do some writing because these questions are constantly going through my mind behind  all of the noise:

    • What the f&*^ is going on?
    • What are we supposed to learn from all of this?
    • What are we going to differently when we get through this?

This is a wake up call.  Things will not (and should not) “go back to normal” when this is over.  I don’t have the answers.  We are all going to have to figure this out together. The people who are governing like adults or saving other people’s lives or making sure we all have food to eat or taking care of kids while trying to work from home or trying to make ends meet with no income or out on the street because they have no home, are kind of busy.

So if you have energy and time to spare, go inside for a few minutes and see what your heart has to say about the bigger picture of what is happening here, so we can figure this out.  Then you can watch Tiger King and Tik Tok’s.