Well, here we are. Over a month in. You. Me. All of us. Everywhere. Living a very different life than the one we expected to be living this spring. Each of us dealing, in our own unique way, with the same epic situation that’s leveled the global playing field of life in a way that it’s never been leveled before. And now, all of us, regardless of who or where we are in the world, are equal. Kind of ironic, isn’t it? And sort of comforting, too, in a weird way. Everybody working together. Because now, for probably the first time in the history of humanity, we’re all on the same side of the line, fighting the same fight. The COVID-19 fight. And the one and only thing on everyone’s mind is making it to the other side.

Look, this sucks. And I’m never going to say that it doesn’t. That’s the plain and simple reality that we can’t and shouldn’t ignore.

Whatever goals or plans we had ahead of us have been pretty violently derailed and now our number one day-to-day priority is simply to keep ourselves and the people we love well. That, and trying to preserve some normalcy in our everyday lives in whatever ways we can. And that’s some tricky business. Because we’ve all lost something here, yet we need to keep moving forward.

Look, I’m not here to babble on about how stressful life is for all of us right now, because that would be redundant and not the least bit helpful … not to mention annoying. Plus, it’s nothing you don’t already know. By now, we’re all intimately acquainted with the “New Normal” and what it takes to live our best quarantined lives every day. So instead, I’m here with a simple reminder of some things I know to be true.

I know it’s ok to feel worried about the people we love. And to feel afraid. And to feel anxious. And to feel stressed. And to feel bored. And to feel hopeless. And to feel angry. And to feel lonely. And to feel sad. And to cry. And to feel all the other stressful feelings that we spend our days feeling. Because we need to allow ourselves to connect with these feelings and give ourselves permission to sit in them for a little while. That’s because all these emotions we’re feeling are real and they matter, and we need to honor them so we can then move forward.

What I also know, is that we don’t want to fall too far down the rabbit hole of fear and despair here either. Because there are things we can control, and things we can’t and wasting too much time and energy dwelling on the things that are out of our hands only leads to bad outcomes like depression and anxiousness and hopelessness, none of which any of us can afford to have right now. That’s why I’m making the conscious choice to focus on the things I can still control, like my attitude. And that happens to be a big deal. Because it’s like I always say, we can’t control what the world throws at us; we can only control how we choose to react to it. Don’t forget, we get to choose to find the good in the situations we’re in or let the bad parts swallow us whole. That’s our choice. That’s on us. We get to decide if we’re going to pull the covers over our head and live in fear of the unknown, OR, if we’re going to plant our feet firmly on the floor every morning and live intentionally. We get to choose.

So, for as long as we need to, we need to do all the things, like practice social distancing and wear our masks and wash our hands and stay connected with the people we love virtually and through window panes. Because that’s what we need to do. And while I’ll be the first to agree that it feels super weird and totally unsettling a lot of the time because our ability to choose where we go and what we do and who we’re with is gone, at least we’re in control of doing the right thing(s) for ourselves and each other. At least for right now. And that’s something. In fact, that’s everything.

Because, like it or not, this is where we are. This is where we all are. Together. And we can’t ignore it, nor should we. In fact, it’s necessary for all of us to mourn all the things that we’ve temporarily lost right now. Cause there are a lot. The key word though is temporarily. Because as s----- as this is on so many levels, it will end. And eventually, in time, we’re going to emerge from this place we’re stuck in right now and life will resume. And even though it’s probably going to look a bit different from the life we knew before all this, it will come. And we’re going to appreciate it however it looks.

For now, though, let’s make the intentional choice to focus on the things we CAN do. The things we DO have. The places we CAN still go. And let’s lean into those things. Hard. Because even though we’ve got limitations, we also still have our creativity and our sense of innovation and our imagination. And we’ve all still got each other. And those things matter and they can take us pretty damn far.

So just remember, we’re all in this together. From beginning to end. And there’s a lot of strength to be drawn just from that. An awful lot. Onward, friends.
Lisa Sugarman lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts. She writes the nationally syndicated opinion column It Is What It Is and is the author of “How to Raise Perfectly Imperfect Kids and Be Ok with It - Real Tips & Strategies for Parents of Today’s Gen Z Kids,” “Untying Parent Anxiety: 18 Myths That Have You in Knots - And How to Get Free,” and “LIFE: It Is What It Is,” available on Amazon, at Barnes & Noble and at select bookstores everywhere. Read and discuss all her columns and books at lisasugarman.com, or find them on GrownAndFlown.com, Hot Moms Club, LittleThings.com, MommingHubb.com, 50 Shades of Aging, More Content Now, Wickedlocal.com, This Mama Wines and Care.com.