- R. T. Coleman
My Quarantine Birthday
Updated: Jul 24, 2022
I’ve started and stopped this blog more times than I can count this week. No matter what I’ve written, it's seemed silly, to be honest. People are dying. A lot more are going to die. Our healthcare workers continue to put themselves on the front lines of this crisis despite the fact that they’re exhausted and severely under supplied and underfunded. Others who work in grocery stores, in transportation and delivery, and other service industries face greater danger with each passing day. Millions of Americans are struggling to cope with the new normal. Many of them still haven’t grasped the reality of this situation.
In the midst of it all, I had a birthday. THE birthday. The Big 5-0. I’ve been looking forward to this birthday for the better part of a year. There was a party planned with friends and family. I looked forward to ending my fifth decade on this planet with a bang, some kick-ass tunes, a fine bottle of tequila, and my favorite people in the world.
It was absolutely the right call to postpone the party, but I still spent Friday feeling a little sorry for myself. Joe's been home this week and hard at work getting the farm ready for lockdown mode, so we took one last trip into town to stock up on a few more supplies, thinking the stores would be relatively empty. I couldn't believe how wrong we were. I was one of only a few people with a mask on, and there were dozens of people just milling around like it was a normal day. I truly hope I'm wrong in thinking this is going to get way worse before it gets better.
That Feeling You Have? It's Grief
I read a great article this week from the Harvard Business Review featuring an interview with David Kessler, coauthor of On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss with Elizabeth Kübler-Ross. Kessler notes that the discomfort we’re all feeling right now is grief and loss. Loss of normalcy, of connection, of a sense of safety. Uncertainty as to what will happen next, anticipation of the possible ways in which the virus will affect us personally, and fear of the unknown. These are all perfectly normal feelings to have. It’s normal to be distracted. Here’s a link in case you want to read it yourself, which I recommend: "That Discomfort You're Feeling Is Grief." It helped me realize that it’s OK to feel completely unbalanced right now, to mourn the loss of normalcy.
To be a little pissed that my 50th birthday bash got cancelled on account of a global pandemic.
For all the post-apocalyptic movies I’ve seen and novels I’ve read, I never thought I’d actually see something like this happen during my lifetime. My first novel, Vagabonder, deals with the aftermath of a pandemic, but I never thought I’d be living through one. (Things are happening on this front, by the way. I can’t share anything yet, but soon...)
Anyway, I don’t have any wise words to share this week. I’m isolating myself at our farm with our three dogs. I have enough supplies to last me several weeks. I’ve been working remotely for more than 5 years now, so my day-to-day life hasn’t changed much other than the fact that I spend much more time worrying and watching the news than I ever did.
But Joe is in trucking, so he’s out there, in the middle of all this, and it makes me afraid for him. I’m afraid for my parents, for my brother who is still having to commute to an office every day, for our kids who are all in big cities with greater chances of exposure. I’m afraid for my grandchildren and my young nieces and nephews whose lives have been completely disrupted by school closings and increased hand washing (Does anyone know a kid who likes to wash their hands?).
Stay safe, everyone. Tell people you love them every day. Take care of yourself. Wash your hands. Stay home, and hang on.
Shit's getting wild.