A few days ago I found a map that showed all the farmgate locations you could visit to get groceries, and store locations that would bring your purchases out to your car (or deliver) for you. I’m always interested in the farmgate locations in my area. I like to buy at the market (which isn’t open right now). Farmers have things to sell, and have lost some of the venues at which they can sell. Win-win. A while back, I wanted to go to a farm that is relatively close, but that I hadn’t gone to. I put the address into the Googlez, and it gave me a route.
Normally, when you look at Google Maps directions, they give you a few options. Google isn’t judgey about whether you want to go on this route or that one, or whether you really actually don’t like to drive on the highway, or you’d rather pass by this really great restaurant that you love (yaknow, when those restaurants are open again). It lays out the options and leaves you to it.
Well, as it turns out, the address we had for the farm in Blenheim wasn’t allocated to the RAM Truck Navigator definitions of Blenheim. But we figured we could still find it.
Famous last words, right?
The GPS Navigation has good intentions. Even when you willfully ignore the instructions it gives you, it tries to convince you to course-correct a few times, re-plans your route for you. So yeah, we had overshot the sideroad where we should have turned. It was still a lovely drive in the country, and we found it eventually, got our greens and our eggs, and were on our way. The truck’s navigator eventually figured out that we weren’t out in the middle of a field and got us back on track for the return journey. The GPS didn’t have any disparaging remarks or call us nasty names because we were freestyling. Eventually, we were all facing the same direction again, no harm done.
There’s a lot right now that’s making me feel like my internal Navigation thinks I’m out in the middle of a field. I’m certain I’m not the only one here. Even considering one of my favourite fun-facts – when you’re on a flight (not that we’re flying right now), 90% of the time, you’re not actually headed for your destination – it’s the series of tiny adjustments to the course that actually get you there. I feel like that’s good perspective to have even on terra firma. Because everything feels a more than a little off-kilter right now.
I was reading an article by Jeff Warren (full link in Extra Credit below) last weekend that said that when you’re feeling not-normal, that’s expected and OK, because none of this is normal. The article talks about adjusting expectations. “How you’re feeling makes sense, because this is a crazy time.” This is the message you want to practice giving to yourself, and everyone you support.
If only it were that easy.
I’ve been trying to be judicious about reading C-19 news so that I’m not overwhelmed before my work day even starts. But I’ve noticed a change in a few things in the last week or so:
Item the first: The World Health Organization wants us to use the term “physical distancing” instead of “social distancing”. Because social distancing is a less accurate (and truly isolating, and possibly more psychologically damaging to one’s mental health) term.
Item the second: The semantics of collective experience. we say “we’re in the middle of this” and maybe some of us are. I’m not. I’m kind of locked down in the Casa di Swears with my menfolk and King Louie. So yes, I’m affected, but I’m not in a hot-zone. There’s not one in my friends, family, even colleague group who has contracted C-19. So I’m not *exactly* in the middle. I read an article that suggested that if you make the threat more immanent than it is (and it’s serious for all of us, so don’t minimize the risk), it’s harder on your mental health than if you say that you’re taking precautions to avoid reallyreally being in the middle of it.
Item the third: Mindshift exercises. These are the I’m-stuck-at-home vs I’m-safe-at-home perspective changes. I’m always a believer that if you look for the worst, you’ll always find it. So don’t. Look for the best. Some will find it difficult to find the gifts in this. For me, my son got to come home when I didn’t expect to see him until possibly August. I’ve learned how to attach the home monitors to my work laptop. I started meditating again. I get to talk to my sister across the country once a week.
There seems to be a bunch of things circulating right now about adjusting expectations. Don’t think you’re being held (and don’t hold yourself) to the same standard as when things were “normal” – whether that’s how much screen time your kids are having or how often you wear yoga pants to work from home. We’re hearing it at work – if you’re not as productive as you usually are, don’t just shoulder in. Of course you’re feeling off, these are not normal circumstances. So when my internal GPS is concerned that I should be making a U-turn at the next safe juncture, maybe I shouldn’t just wave it off?
This Lent, when things start feeling out of control (which they sometimes do, even without the extra layer of C-19), may I trust when I can’t be my own navigator, and may I know when I need to take the next possible U-Turn.