As Week 12 came and went, so did the stay-at-home order in most states, including Illinois. Still a lot of things we can’t do, but a lot of restrictions lifted. The Chicago lakefront is still closed although when I was down in the city last weekend, the barricades blocking off Lincoln Park west of Lake Shore Drive were down and I could run unencumbered along those pathways. Today I went back to my office for the first time since March 13. The day Ann died.
It seems like a long time. And yet it feels like just the other day. As much as we look forward to life returning to “normal” we know it never will. What once was, no longer exists. Personally this makes me sad. On a national and even global level it gives me hope. Things shouldn’t ever return to what we have accepted as “normal.”
I spent the first half of the stay-at-home order feeling sad. Eating too much junk. Having a hard time getting in more than a couple short runs each week. Gaining weight. And then one morning I picked myself up and committed to the healthy life-style I knew would create a much better environment for productivity.
I started thinking about the time at home as sort of a sabbatical. I created a positive morning routine that allowed time for mediation, healthy food preparation, and workouts with an emphasis on the stretching and strength training I had long been neglecting. From rising to showering and heading into my work day, the routine takes three hours. That was more of a challenge this morning when I had to consider the commute to Pilsen (I went to bed an hour early and set set my alarm for the first time in 3 months for 6am).
“Not all storms come to disrupt your life, some come to clear your path.” ~unknown
It will remain difficult to rectify the loss of 111,359 lives (as of last night) to this virus, although I believe there is a lasting good that came from our time at home. For the last couple days I’ve been reflecting on how being able to pause allowed us to pay attention as we never have before.
This pause has given us time to reflect and reconsider our values and priorities, not just personally but collectively as humans. I have wondered if we were all still so busy with our daily lives would we not have finally reacted to the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd as we did? If we were still so busy with our lives would we not have seen what we needed to finally see?
There will never be justification for any preventable deaths, but in this pandemic while we stayed safe at home, we had the time to see that black lives were the ones serving as essential workers, that black lives were disproportionately falling victim to this virus, that black lives were dying as a result of systemic racism. And we finally said, “Enough.”
We have yet to find a new normal. Although thankfully we finally understand that what we once considered normal, isn’t something to which we would ever want to return.