This is an unusual day for me.
I’m sitting at home on a weekday with a cold and nothing to do. For most people, a day off of work might be a time to catch up on some shows, take a nap and just relax. However, this is my third day home in a row and for me, this much free time makes me itch. It’s unusual days (like this one) that I feel the full weight of my relentless compulsion to be productive. On a larger scale, it’s unusual seasons of life (like this one) that force me slow down and think about how I want to live. This blog is me using this common cold to reflect on this season of life that has been shaped by an uncommon virus (thanks COVID). The following is about how this season is helping me reshape my perspective on what it means to live in the now.
This season of life (the pandemic) has been an emotional rollercoaster for the human race. From dark weeks filled with fear, to brief moments of hope and everything in between, it feels as if we’re in the middle of a storm. This proverbial storm has shaken the fabric of society and it sometimes feels as if we’re all just wishing this time away; waiting for the storm to pass so that we can return to “how things used to be.” I’m realizing for the first time today that the “waiting for the storm to pass” mentality isn’t serving us as individuals or as a collective group. Sitting at my desk littered with cough drops and with crumpled up tissues at my feet I had a moment of realization; even if life isn’t how we hope it would be, it’s still all that we have. It’s time to stop waiting for this time to pass and it’s time to start living fully in it.
There’s no telling how long COVID will be around and when (or if) we can return to “how things used to be.” That’s uncertain. However, there is something certain sitting right in front of us and that is every single second of every single day. The present moment that we are living in is all that’s guaranteed. Heart beating. Lungs breathing. Fully alive.
These are tough times, but that doesn’t make them bad times.
You might be rolling your eyes and disagreeing with my “overly optimistic” and “naive” view of life in the midst of this “unprecedented” and “terrible time” that you can’t seem to wrap your head around. I get it, I’m an optimist, but I’m also a realist and the following is a fact. These days are different than they used to be, however, this moment is all that we have and this moment is a good one because we’re alive to live it. Longing for the past and sulking about the future are foolproof ways to miss out on this moment. I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to look back at this time and smile at how I seized each day, kept my head up and trusted in something bigger than myself. It can be hard to see, but there are opportunities in every hardship and blessings that come with each burden. No matter how much you might want to wish away these unusual times, they are all that we have. Let me hand it over to one of the most well-known philosophers and poets of all time to add credibility and sum up these thoughts better than I ever could.
There’s nothing wrong with reflecting on the past or dreaming about the future. However, it’s time to stop standing on this island and wishing that we were on another, because right now, this island is all we have. There’s good to be found, opportunities to be capitalized on, people to be loved and life to be lived, even if it’s not how we used to do it.
I know that these times are tough, but that doesn’t make the present any less precious. This is a reminder not to wish away what could very well be a great, albeit unusual, time in your life. Make the most of this moment.
Go find the good in this day.
Joe Rinaldi, PT, DPT