“When you are robbed of the ordinary, the ordinary becomes extraordinary.”
I was listening to a podcast today by Mitch Ablom from ‘Tuesdays with Morrie’ called Tuesday People. It’s kind of like comfort food for the soul. Mitch was talking about the perfect day, and he referenced what Morrie had told him about what he would consider a perfect day had he been given a day without the limitations of ALS. Morrie talked about spending time with people he cared about, enjoying nature, good food, and dancing!
What was so striking about Morrie’s description of his perfect day was how perfectly ordinary it was. There were no bucket list adventures or work aspirations. Instead, his day was filled with small moments of a very human life.
This quote really struck me as we are all isolated and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic. Our ordinary lives have vanished so quickly Americans are having trouble catching their breath…even if they have stayed healthy. I am extraordinarily lucky as I ride out the lockdown in my home. I am retired and don’t need to worry about my job (or, as a retired teacher, learning how to plan long distance learning for my students). I have a pension that covers my day to day living needs, so I can afford not to panic about the market volatility. I live with my husband, so I am not socially isolated (although, to be honest, there are some days we’re both seeking a little isolation from each other:). We are able to face time with our adult daughter to keep in touch, and we have both stayed healthy enough to do limited visiting and grocery shopping for my elderly mother.
Even with all the blessings that have made me able to handle the pandemic better than most, I am still longing for all the ordinary moments that have disappeared suddenly from my life. I miss getting together with friends. I miss being able to sit on the patio of my favorite cafe to have an ice tea. I miss taking my mother out for a meal. I miss going out for dinner with my husband and catching up on our day. I miss going to our local movie theater. I miss stopping by a store to browse or look for a gift. I miss going into a grocery store without worrying that my food run is putting me at risk. When I’m in the grocery store, I miss being able to leisurely shop and easily find everything on my list. I miss stopping to say “hi” to neighbors as I take a walk around the block keeping my six foot social distance.
I am suddenly and painfully aware of all of the ordinary parts of life that I have taken for granted. While I am grateful for my circumstances, I long for the not so long ago past that disappeared as quickly as the virus appeared in our lives.
I long for the gift of an ordinary day, and my fervent wish is that we all have many ordinary days in our not so distant future.
Until then, stay safe and connect with your loved ones however you can. Reach out for help if you need it and answer a call for help if you are able. Let’s collectively (and virtually) hold hands and face this crisis together.
I miss you all,