May is always a strange month.
Students are counting down the days until summer break.
Parents are counting down the days until school resumes [again].
Teachers are checking off the endless list that accompanies closing down a school year.
Lakes and pools beckon the masses, but work slaps us with the reality that summer break is no longer a thing in adulthood.
It is not uncommon to have a countdown for our favorite movie premiere, vacation, due date, wedding, reunion, graduation, final treatment, and such.
Counting down keeps us tethered to a current reality while anticipating a future one.
Countdowns might be instinctive.
Who would have guessed that our current reality was on the other side of the 2020 countdown? Would we have cheered and celebrated if we had?
If we cannot cancel or start this strange year over over, it might be wise to adjust or rework the countdown mentality. What if a tiny perspective adjustment was one of the gifts of this season…
Full disclosure: when I reach the end of a countdown, I end up feeling an emotional letdown. I even feel a little lost after the big event passes.
When my older children graduated from high school, I found myself floundering. Questions about purpose and thoughts of letting go threatened to suffocate me. That was the first time I was introduced to the idea of avoiding the countdown. I was measuring everything in terms of lasts, but my sister challenged me to think of all the new firsts. I had to rehearse this perspective; it was NOT instinctive.
Sadness is a companion for many lasts, but excitement often accompanies firsts. It is counter-intuitive, but that tiny perspective adjustment [from lasts to firsts] was an anchor for my soul.
Instead of measuring the lasts, consider the firsts.
Instead of counting down, start counting up.
What perspective adjustment are you making after 8 weeks in quarantine? How has it helped?
Let’s learn new things together!
P.S. If you missed the last Quarantine Chronicles post, you can read it here.