April 3, 2020 – Hello and Happy [some day they call “Friday”]!
This morning I was pondering the recent 2- to 3-week “settling in” process – I bet you’ve been whirled around in a process of confusion, wonder, upset, anger, exploration, and occasional settling. We all have.
Eternally fascinated by the human brain, behavior and personality types, I find comfort in exploring my curiosity about how each individual I encounter is handing the New Normal. I, myself, am aware that I went through, and am still on the looping path of a “settling in” process.
I feel strongly that there are significant parallels here to the 5 stages of grief and loss.
“The 5 stages of grief and loss are:
People who are grieving do not necessarily go through the stages in the same order or experience all of them.” – as proposed by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
1. DENIAL – I recall when “things were getting real” and everything was getting canceled…well, it’s just for big events…the group number kept dropping and eventually settled on 10. No more than 10 people together. But we can still go to people’s houses we KNOW, right? Come on! Ok, just a month, or two, max. Did we get dropped into Jumani??
2. ANGER – Looking for someone, something to blame. Easy target: Wuhan, China. I have heard: “How could they be so irresponsible? Look what THEY have done to the world?” Well, we all know this is not just because of Wuhan. We have been overtaking the natural spaces of the earth, sticking our dirty human-ness in the most ecologically complicated and earth-sustaining places for a long time. (another blogpost for another day)
3. BARGAINING – I hear people say, “Well, my life hasn’t really changed that much. I’m an introvert anyway…been waiting my whole life to be told to stay home!” etc Making memes to keep the sense of humor up which is, in all seriousness, critically important. we seek to protect our brains from descending into darkness.
4. DEPRESSION – Needing way more naps. Running out of energy by noon. More time spent just staring off in space. Often as a result of watching too much news…submitting yourself to death by a thousand cuts.
5. ACCEPTANCE – Using the term the New Normal. Casting off the old filters and applying the new one. Seeking to celebrate the undeniable benefits. Truly saying goodbye to things that are no longer and not just waiting around for that to be the norm again. Patience. Being in the NOW.
As in the typical grief process, you may experience some, not necessarily all, of the stages, and not in a typical order. and most importantly, not just one time. It’s a loop-the-loop ride, folks. we can be circling up and back multiple times in the process, sometimes over a week, even in a particularly tumultuous day. And the more information that is released, even if it’s not necessarily accurate, will affect which stage you’ll be in at any given moment.
I scrolled through my blog feed over the past 2 weeks, and I can see the stages, not necessarily anger because I’m not that kind of blogger. (positivity is my jam, but I have felt all of them, trust me). I am overjoyed that I feel about 10% more normal and settled in. That percentage can be perceived as low, but not to me. I’ll take it. Remember the new filter? The New Normal is not to be trifled with. You take what you can get and celebrate your wins. 10% feels awesome.
Do what it takes to get “there” and let “there” be what it needs to be for you at any given time. Read all day? Do it. Bake all day? Awesome. Call and/or video chat friends and loved ones all day? Absolutely.
Partaking in those activities right now are like medicine and will fortify you. Listen and observe what you need right now. You do you and then you’ll look in the proverbial rearview mirror and say, wow! Yay me! I’m kinda sorta getting more into “acceptance”. And that’s good enough, because that is strength.