It has been over 9 months since most of our lives were upended by the Pandemic.  I think most of us would agree that this is the strangest time in our lifetimes.  An important element is that we are not alone …… it has affected the entire world.  Some days it’s hard to wrap my mind around all the changes that have happened as a result.

I would like to discuss how this has affected us personally.  It really depends on the person – but some people are losing their jobs and have a hard time paying their rent.  Restaurants and local small businesses have been affected in a large way. Restaurants in particular have either had to shut down or have lost up to 50% of their monthly income. Teachers and students are doing school in a whole new way!  Some students are learning virtually via computer.  Others go to school in person, but wear a mask most of the day, and practice social distancing.  Our older adults that live in Senior facilities have been isolated because most facilities have closed the doors to visitors.  In addition, the Seniors aren’t allowed to leave the facility unless they self-quarantine for 2 weeks after they return.

Most of us have had to make some changes in our lifestyle.  The biggest issue for me was that most of my work has been with older adults.  I have been going to a couple of facilities 3 days/week as a Chaplain.  Well – the doors were shut.  I was grieving the loss of not being able to visit my Senior friends.  I have been calling some of them – but in my mind, it doesn’t compare with a one-to-one visit.  Another issue was the closure of churches.  This mainly applied to people who were not to meet in their churches…  The church that I attend was able to open up in July fortunately.  You have to make a reservation, and it’s limited to 50 people/week.  Two weeks ago – they reintroduced communion!  We always have to wear masks, and social distance, but it’s good to see people face-to-face!!

On an emotional level, the past 6 months have been hard for me.  As I explained – most of my “structure” was taken away.  So what do I do all day long?  What purpose do I have currently?  I have had more down episodes during the past 9 months than I usually have.  I’m aware of my blessings:  I’ve been healthy, I don’t have to worry about finances, I have a good relationship with my spouse.  Michael is my “partner”.  We’re kind of “joined at the hip” in a matter of speaking.  We both hang around the house a lot.  Fortunately, we do get along most of the time, and we have separate spaces in the house to go to.

This pandemic hasn’t been easy on anyone.  For me – I’ve learned to be more flexible.  I’ve also had to be creative to keep my mind from being totally bored. The lack of structure has forced me to be creative in what I pursue on the home front.  Getting outside is crucial to lift my moods when I’m not wanting to get out of bed.  I also have a sun light for the morning.  The lamp helps me when the days are getting darker.  Another factor on my low days is my spouse.  Michael “allows” me to be in bed until noonish.  Then he comes up and strongly encourages me to get up.  It does help when I get dressed and go to a different part of the house.

Don’t want to be too gloomy.  All of us have our personal issues as a result of COVID 19 .  The trick is to adapt to the new normal, and be creative and flexible in finding ways to help address your personal issues.  Another factor is to reach out to your family, friends, neighbors.  You are not alone, and even though your friend may be wearing a mask – compassion and empathy can be felt.

These are just some musings about the weird world we’re living in today.  I’m hopeful it will change again soon. Then we will have a new normal to adjust to.

Rebecca Brown lives in Colorado, was raised in Colorado Springs. She has always loved working with older adults, since the age of 22. She loves to capture life with her camera, taking walks, hiking, knitting, reading, talking with friends…… to name a few. Rebecca serves on the Board of Directors for Where Grace Abounds. You can read more of her musings here.