Lines and tigers and fears, oh my! I believe we are all just about done talking about this pandemic. It has truly been a year that has made my head spin. It started with the toilet paper shortage. I think about the many times that I have used toilet paper for things other than the loo: cushioning my shoes, wrapping glasses for a move, stuffing my preteen bra. I definitely got snobbier on the brand I would buy as I grew older, too. When I first got out on my own, I didn’t mind the prosciutto-ham-thin paper that emulated party streamers; it was budget friendly. Now, if it is not endorsed by bears or angels, I’m not interested. The hiney wants what the hiney wants.
As fears quickly grew over shortages of everything we hold dear, our local stores became like Disney theme parks on spring break. Crabby people standing in line for hours just for a 2.5-minute ride down Lysol Lane, while hoping not to see the eighth dwarf – Germy. We stockpiled less-desirable items that we would typically donate to the food bank each Thanksgiving, and we longed to return to the superstore daily to get more Spam and Ramen noodles. I have now realized that somehow those college food staples twisted our sense of decent TV as we binge-watched a crazy tiger man yell, “I’d shoot you before I shot my cat!”
So how did it get so chaotic so quickly? The word fear rears its ugly head. It makes us do strange and irrational things sometimes. As a nation – well – a world, we got catapulted into a pandemic that we knew nothing about. How do you combat an invisible and ever-changing enemy? I have always prided myself on being calm and level-headed in difficult situations. However, when it’s literally a matter of life or death, it can certainly play on one’s good senses. I found myself struggling over whether people were over- or under-reacting. I found it confusing and scary that the media reported thousands of deaths one day and launched an investigation into reporting false numbers the next. It is like we are all stuck in Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory on that crazy boat going down the chocolate river.
So what are we to do? How do we move forward? The answer is different for each of us. We all process this season in different ways. Rest assured, we are going through this together. We are all experiencing fatigue, loneliness, anger, frustration, fear, uneasiness – the list goes on. We are all hoping a vaccine is found quickly and that we can get back to what we consider to be normal, everyday life. But the truth is, the world has changed, and we will be looking at a new normal. I am here to encourage you to embrace the change instead of fearing it. If I could give a nod back to Disney, there is a quote I love that Christopher Robin told Pooh: “If ever there is tomorrow when we’re not together … there is something you must always remember. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”