Driving to my son’s house early in the morning, I passed the exit where my GPS wanted me to turn. I’ve driven this route since I earned a driver’s license, and I don’t know why the GPS has decided that’s the most efficient route to take. Without fail, it responds, “Recalculating,” as it does every time I continue on my usual route.
I started thinking about how navigating our lives right now is a lot like driving before there was GPS. We might have carried an atlas, state road map, or AAA Triptik with us, and while they were often out-of-date, torn, worn, coffee stained, or just not helpful in a big city crowded with traffic, they were the best we had.
We were cruising down the highway of our lives, and all at once, the road ahead is blocked and there is no detour marked. Every plan we had, has changed. What we thought was sure, is not even possible now. Our day planners, smart phones, GPS devices — all the highway signs and digital landmarks we use to plot our lives are now worthless.
What do we do?
Each of us is having to recalculate what life looks and feels like now. For those who are “essential” things have shifted to warp speed to keep up with the demands of a society in crisis mode. For those with children at home, there’s the online education issue to manage. Working from home can be both blessing and curse. And even for those who generally spend most of their time alone at home, extended stay-at-home orders have proven to be a challenge.
We all want to do the best we can with this uncertain time, but what does that mean exactly? I’ve seen hundreds of suggestions for every situation, and I’m sure you have too. While I appreciate the good thoughts, I’m tired of looking at emails with subject lines that start “Ten ways to improve…” You fill in the blank. I know I should read. I know I should write. I know I should get outside. I know I should exercise more. But honestly, I don’t feel like it.
I’m spending time wondering.
Wondering what we’re learning from this - individually, as communities, and as societies. Wondering what life will be like when we don’t have to stay at home, but still may not feel safe going out. Wondering what lasting changes will be made as a result of the social inequities being revealed, as the pandemic unfolds across our country. Wondering who has the skills required to lead us through such tremendous changes. Wondering if we’ll be willing to try changing.
I’m wondering why it took a pandemic to illustrate what we’ve done to our planet. I can’t be the only one finding it ironic that while humanity struggles to breathe, Mother Earth is catching her breath. The air is cleaner. Whales are swimming in shipping lanes. Fish are seen in the now clean canals of Venice. Goats and cattle are roaming highways and streets that once teemed with traffic.
I’m wondering who I want to be when this is over, and how do I get there? I’m sure there’s no going back. There’s only a new course forward.
What are you wondering? Where are you heading? How will you be different?
©Shirley K. Weyrauch, April 2020
Shirley K. Weyrauch
I love reading, writing, and photography! Spending time with my family and friends around the kitchen table is about the best occasion I know. I'm just beginning to stretch my creative wings, so here's to gentle breezes and clear skies.