Adjusting One’s Expectations
Years Running Down my Cheeks
I was talking recently about how someone needed to lower their expectations and I did not like the sound of that at all! It signaled negativity and seemed depressing. So, I decided to change it to “Adjust One’s Expectations.” That sounds much better to my ears. Don’t you agree? Regardless of whatever issue I was talking about, I realized that adjusting our expectations is something we all have been doing during the COVID-19 Corona Virus Pandemic.
(If we want to have more deep thoughts, we understand that our entire life is full, absolutely loaded with adjusted expectations. But we will limit the discussion to these current times.)
When I think about how rapidly life has changed, it is astonishing. Less than two months ago, we were all planning on living our typical lives in all their glory: work, play, events, entertainment, celebrations.
Now, every day is filled with ordinary moments interspersed with times of shattering horror. This is global, people. A Global Pandemic of death and illness. No, it is not just your house and a case of measles. It is not this year’s flu going around your county. Every country in the world is counting cases and deaths and recoveries and the resulting morbidity.
When the realization of the Global-ness of all these changes seeps into my consciousness, that is when I may find myself with Years Running Down my Cheeks. Not to be confused with the tears that are also there, but years of time: present, past and more importantly, the future. I can tell you that it is not a pretty sight.
Our family, as so many, is stacking up the milestones and virtual celebrations. We are missing the in person gatherings for graduations, birthdays, celebration of baby’s birth, Mother’s Day, anniversaries, and family reunions. We are all of us adjusting our expectations. It is worldwide. That is the outrageous part. There are times that is comforting to know that we are not alone in the reality and emotion of our experiences. There are times when that just delineates the horror of our current reality.
“Zoom” parties, messenger phone calls, virtual FB fundraisers, car parades, socially distant outdoor picnics, we have done all that and will do many more. My daughter organized a Skype game-playing birthday party for my husband’s birthday. He loved it. My sister organized a gift-giving shower and welcome video for my niece’s newborn baby. It meant a lot. My daughter organized a virtual fundraiser for the nonprofit of which she is Executive Director. It was a huge success. A third daughter organized a Mother’s Day cocktail party via Zoom. It was so much fun. My sisters are organizing virtual celebrations for their graduates: high school/college, and PHD. Friends have had adorable car parades for little ones, and back of car picnics at the park so they can see their grandchildren. Successful, yes. Emotionally challenging, of course. I confess to tears of empathy for my family, and yours, as we and they work to make family celebrations something special. Adjusting our expectations.
We now share our photos of our masked faces. We still share more memes, which somehow are not so hilarious, but still appreciated.
I am proud when I see those I know practice safe lifesaving health-saving measures. I am often upset at those who publicly and privately flaunt the safety measures, as if it’s all about them, not their families, not us, not the society of “others.”
Every day now, I wake up weary. I have only seconds before the truth of what is seeps into my consciousness. It gets harder to get out of bed, but I do. I am still so grateful for the millions of people that go to work, and do their part to keep us safe, and healthy and supplied with food and other necessities. The words “Thank you” will never be enough.
We can agree that everything is changed, but not everything is different. Think about it.
I love you and miss you. You know who you are. Please disregard the traces of years rolling down my cheeks.
P.S. #WYFM Wear Your Fucking Mask!