Today the shelter in place order has taken effect in Illinois. It’s strange more than anything. The world seems to be falling asleep while we are all trying to awaken within the confines of our homes. At the same time, the life that has sustained us on this planet seems to be coming alive again as well. These are confusing times. Chaotic, unnerving, uncertain. And I am here at the precipice of a feeling that my life is also chaotic and uncertain, and yes, unnerving.
We have to make these decisions in life and I’ve so often let them weigh on me whether it was what to eat or what to wear or when to buy a house—I carried the weight the same no matter the magnitude of the decision. I let it crush me.
And in these times in particular, there are decisions that have to be made that we can’t possibly know the answer to. We can’t see how they will turn out. There is simply no way to know what will come of these unprecedented circumstances. This is something we simply haven’t seen in our lifetimes.
And the beautiful thing is, that as scary as the circumstances are, we HAVE to change. No matter what decision we make, change will be the result. This is about learning who we are and letting the world see that to the fullest. This is about the most blatant visible destruction of a system we have put faith in for so long (but knew was unhealthy for the majority) and now we are seeing clearly it doesn’t serve. And for the first time I am happy to say that those in power seem to grasp that their rules don’t work and that we need to take steps we haven’t before. This isn’t about power, it’s about preserving the power of life.
This is a learning experience for all of us. Time to embrace humanity at its core. Refresh and remember that through disconnection we can find what we need to reconnect to. This, my friends, no matter how terrible, is a new start.
On a personal level, I thought for so long that I am a strong and brave woman who could and would face anything. It turns out that I am not necessarily as brave as I thought. I no longer want to seek out the fight. I no longer want to be on the front lines of chaos. I want to be in rooms where logic prevails and there never has to be a question of what the right thing to do is. Not when lives are on the line. I want to live in a time where people are all given the same chance. It isn’t about fending for ourselves anymore, it’s about the collective.
Our lives will look and feel different. These are uncharted waters and no one can know what to expect next. We will have to figure things out as people did before us. The simple fact is we were on an unsustainable trajectory for both the people and the planet. The pattern and the plan needed to shift. I feel like we are understanding that money is simply a tool and we can decide to use it how we want to. With that, I’m hoping there are more of us who realize that money can no longer be the driving factor when it comes to determining a person’s worth. We can create a more sustainable way of life for all and the Earth is already reaping the benefits from our pause. We have to stop pretending that we haven’t built a system that we have devolved into an incredibly classist and exclusional way of being. We can do better than that because it doesn’t work for everyone.
As we are forced to wait this out and take the pause, there are things that we are learning to no longer take for granted. The simple act of being, the ability to have access to goods and services of our choosing, the ability of people to provide those goods and services, time with our loved ones. This is a reminder and a stark lesson in what time means and how we choose to spend our days. We can continue to struggle through a man made construct that doesn’t fit the natural rhythm of things or we can reflect during this time and rebuild. How exciting that is. Our existence is a gift. We have forgotten what it means to be alive and what is valuable. Hear what the world is trying to tell us.
For me, I am done. I am done trying to raise my voice in rooms that only speak louder once I open my mouth. I am done trying to voice what is right in a room that is blind to any sense of wrong doing. I am done believe that because I am small that my worth is lessened. I am done forcing and fighting to get a moment to myself. I am done winning for teams that didn’t even want me on their side in the first place. I am done putting myself last as an ancillary support for others to reach the places they need to go while I am buried. I am done fearing that I am not worth the ability to make a decision. I am done believing that my decisions will implode the world around me. And I am quite done believing that I need to cut away more pieces of myself for the people who only call when they need me.
What I am going to do is this: I am embracing this one beautiful human life that I have and I am not going to take these moments for granted. It all moves so quickly and we often race toward the end simply to get there the fastest. It’s time to relish in the things we see along the way. Stay safe, stay patient, stay calm, and get connected. Breathe into the discomfort and wade through the mess to emerge as yourself on the other side. The world is waking up—let’s wake up with it.