The experience of COVID19 Lockdown is as varied as the people who’ve had to live through it – which means there are several billion stories. Yet we are forming a global memory of a universal challenge.
One dimension of that shared experience is, in my observation, a deeper appreciation for the broad range of human emotions that come from the same experience.
Are you Anxious (living in constant, low-grade fear) or are you being eaten alive by your white-hot Anger (sense of injustice)? Do you feel Sadness (a sense of loss) while others find themselves completely disengaged and living in Boredom (there’s nothing to do)? And what about those moments of Curiosity (what’s next?) and Guilt (I feel bad that I have X and others don’t)?
And have you noticed you have days when you experience ALL of those, in sequence or even at the same time? It’s exhausting, being human!
Like everyone else on the planet who is younger than 102 years old, I’ve never lived through a pandemic before. But you can bet I’ll pack differently for the next one.
My Packing List Recommendations
Here are five things I recommend you stash in your “pandemic emergency kit” for use today or the next time a virus decides to go rogue:
- Gratitude. Sure, we lost (are losing) a lot. We’ll be tallying the casualties from this pandemic for many years. But if you’re reading this, I know at least one good thing about you – you’re still here!
- Gratitude in tough times looks like this: make lists of what you DO have. Identify what you CAN control. Say Thank You for the technology that has enabled you to maintain human contact with your elders and other at-risk friends and family, or shop from home so you can maintain physical distance.
- Pack this on top, so it’s most accessible.
- Hope. As long as you can believe that the future will be better than the present, you have fuel to go on living. If you forget to bring hope, it’s much harder to breathe.
- Soap. Just. Plain. Soap. I’ve learned more about handwashing in the past five weeks than in my entire previous life. All that hot water and chapped hands in my past apparently had no impact on germs. It’s all about rubbing, running water, and a good surfactant – and how many of you actually knew what that word meant before? (How Soap Works). Plus, in a pinch, you can make your own at home!
- Warm socks. Geez, when life shifts from constant motion to “sitting around” for long periods, it’s amazing how quickly cold ankles become a “thing.”
- A good e-reader. When the library and the bookstores all close, thank goodness for digital files – text or audio. The glorious thing about books is that you can travel the entire world – indeed, the entire universe and the full span of human history and knowledge – from the comfort of your tiny living space. As long as you’re keeping your brain engaged, you’re not ever really “locked down” at all!
Enjoy the re-emergence!