February, 2021! It’s so hard to believe almost a year has passed since the pandemic changed the world forever. A year of worry. A year of frustration. A year of separation from my son and other cherished friends and family. A year watching out my window. A year adapting. A year waiting. A year hoping. A year learning.
I still wait for my turn to be vaccinated. I still worry about getting sick. I’m still frustrated about so much lost time. I still wait for the next visit with my son. I still look out my window at the changing seasons. I’m still adapting, learning, hoping, trying to look forward.
To say I am not a patient person is REALLY an understatement. From my earliest memories I recall barreling into life at full speed, always in a hurry to get to the next thing. This past year has felt like I ran smack into a wall. I know I’m not alone in this, so I’m not complaining, per se. I’m just reflecting. Is there a deeper lesson to be learned? The obvious is what I hear most folks are trying to do: live in the moment, be grateful, savor a slower pace. Yeah, yeah, yeah…whatever.
Here’s what I’m learning: I am not a slowdown type of person. Yes, I am savoring the time I get to spend with my husband who is working from home and my son who is attending graduate school from home. But most days I just want to get back out there, in it. While I have managed to continue my work and to stay in touch with many of my friends, I can’t help but grieve for all the lost time. The days, weeks, months and now, a year, just marking time. I can’t shake the feeling that, at my age, there’s no time to waste. I still have plans, goals and things to get on with. Grateful? Of course I am! I’m also very aware of how fortunate I am to have a job, a comfortable home in which to stay safe with people I love and who love me. Yes, life is good.
Now there seems to be, maybe, a speck of daylight at the end of this very long tunnel. And…I’m off! Planning a fall vacation with friends. Thinking about dinners out, live music, sporting events and having people over. Every day is a roller coaster as I swing from despair to hope and back again. Read the news. Don’t read the news. By bedtime I am exhausted, that is until my head hits the pillow. Then as my body relaxes my mind revs up and I lay awake, sometimes for hours, until I can calm it down.
This year has shined a light on the differences between me and my husband. Where I am an extrovert, he is content to be alone. Where I experience life at full speed, he is happy with the slow and steady approach. While I rage against the frustration, his patience is both infuriating and a gift. And while I toss and turn all night, he sleeps soundly. All these differences, which used to drive me crazy, have now become my salvation. To know that in spite of it all, or maybe because of it, we continue on. I can depend on his patience, his ability to compartmentalize the pain and focus on what is in front of him. I am comforted by his strength and by his steady breathing at night.
Lessons learned? My basic nature is what it always has been, and so it is for those around me. But in times of great challenge, we can lean into and on each other, for real.
About Barbara Dab
Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant. She is the Editor of The Jewish Observer of Nashville, and a former small business owner. Barbara loves writing, telling stories of real people and real events and most of all, talking to people all over the world. The Jewish Observer newspaper can be read online at www.jewishobservernashville.org .
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