Grief & Gratitude
Over the last 8 weeks, I’ve been riding my own personal roller coaster of emotions along with the rest of the world. When the lockdown first hit in New Jersey, I was confused. I hadn’t heard much about COVID or maybe I didn’t pay much attention to the news until mid-March. I had a packed travel calendar anyways, so the thought of any of my plans changing because of a pandemic didn’t seem believable at all. I was in total denial.
Shortly thereafter, my trips were cancelled, spring break, cancelled, and contracts with clients, cancelled. I felt blind-sighted. I felt confused as to exactly what was happening. I felt angry. The past few years I’ve been heads-down building DotConnect. Putting in the work. Putting in the hours. Celebrating micro successes and learning from all the failures and setbacks. I was so deep in my entrepreneurship journey, with blinders on. Work was the only thing that I identified with. So when the world stopped and work evaporated overnight, it was a shock to the system.
By the middle of April, when it was clear that nothing was changing anytime soon, entire industries were being wiped out around the world, and we are now living amidst a pandemic, I began to feel like maybe now is my opportunity to lean into being the mom I haven’t been able to be in the last few years because I was growing a business. Or maybe now is my time to write more, or get back in shape, or “catch up” on some rest, or do the house projects I wanted. This bargaining that was going on in my mind definitely made the situation more tolerable and more normal.
The last time I wasn’t able to get out of bed and had very little motivation to do anything was 11 years ago when my Gram died. It was a deep depression and it felt different from the situation we are in now. By the end of April, I was feeling familiarity and bouts of depression. There were some days much harder than others. Consumed by thoughts of worry. Was I not stepping up to be a “good mom”? What would happen to me? What would happen to us? Will I land a job? Will the work come back? Will I be able to provide for my family? How is my son feeling? How will this impact his life when he thinks back to his childhood? I miss my friends. I miss my parents. I miss traveling. I miss hopping on the train to New York. I miss living, but I am so very grateful to be safely in my home.
So here we are in the middle of May, and I’ve reached acceptance. There are days that make me feel hopeful that the world is opening back up again, people are hiring again, work will come back around, and we will make it through this and be OK. Every day, I wake up and force myself to practice gratitude. I’ve always felt grateful for the life I have, the life we’ve built for our son, but I’ve never spent a moment to intentionally practice gratitude daily. Just the actual of intentionally practicing gratitude daily as a morning ritual has been really positive, uplifting, and helped keep my mind from wandering to a negative space.
If you haven’t tried it, I challenge you to think of one thing that you’re grateful for every morning, amidst all of this stuff that is happening in the world and say it aloud. See if it makes a difference in your mindset.