Getting Out of Your Pandemic Cage

Getting Out When You’re Not Supposed To Get Out

I don’t think I’ll ever look at a caged animal of any kind the same again. It’s going on a year since the pandemic lockdown happened which subsequently happened to be on my birthday March 17th, I remember it well.

2020 was going to be the beginning of a new chapter for my husband and me. My sweet daughter Harley was the last child of three who was going off to college. I had a part-time job lined up for the first time in my career. I have worked since I was 14 years old and was planning on trying to take a step back from my stressful event production career that had been a source of stress for most of my adult life.

I knew working part-time would be a big change for me, but I had it worked out in my mind that it would give me time to visit with my kids, slow down and take care of myself. But like everyone else, all of that came to a screeching halt.

This wasn’t the first time a world crisis had put my career on hold. Both 9/11 in 2001 and the housing crisis in 2008 to 2010 virtually halted the special event industry to a slow crawl. After 9/11 the job I had had for over 9 years that I had been highly successful in was snatched out from underneath me. I remember how much I loved that job and all the people I worked with. I still miss it today.

Today I find myself in a house with no children to do things for, no work to go to and no money coming in.

I constantly remind myself that I am so fortunate to be married two a wonderful man who has had the opportunity to worked for the same great company for over 25 years. My husband’s industry has to do with regulating conditions in the environment and sales of government regulated products. His career has been the opposite of my roller coaster ride career.

I have been doing my best not to drive him crazy with my “oh my god, what am I going to do”? I try my best to come up with things I can do to make money, so we don’t have to worry so much about paying for the kids’ colleges, etc. He constantly tells me everything’s going to work out and be fine, but somehow I find that so hard to believe.

Every once in a while, I tell him we have to get out of this house today. I’ve seen so much on TV about all the deaths from the pandemic, I just about can’t take it anymore and we get in the car and head out. We try to find a place near our home where we can eat outside and a lot of the time it is very cold! Or what us southerners call cold, somewhere around 37-42 Degrees.

We wear our warmest clothes and do our best to find a place with outdoor heaters, which surprisingly is hard to find. Usually, there are one or two more groups outside dining as well as us. To my surprise, most of the waiters are very polite and understanding that we are sitting outside to avoid spreading or catching the virus.

Before you know it, my husband and I are critiquing all the people that are going inside to dine. Many of them don’t have a mask on before they even go in. They glance at us and the other diners eating outside in the cold like we are fools and just don’t know what our problem is. Or at least that is what I imagine they are thinking.

Then we began a conversation about what the people sitting inside must be thinking. In the photo attached, there is a couple sitting right inside who we are only separated by the glass between us.

My husband says, “man, I bet they’re warm”. I reply maybe they’ve had Covid already and they think they’re immune or maybe they just don’t care. My husband replies, “how could they not care, don’t they watch the news”? With my husband is working from home and with me not working, staying at home watching the nightly news is the highlight of our day. Some nights we watch two different nightly news programs back-to-back, just to see if one missed something that the other didn’t get. Doesn’t everyone do this or do some people do the absolute opposite and do their best not to watch any news at all?

This would definitely be less stressful and dramatic thing to do. Is it as simple as they have the ability to trust in the universe in a way I’ve never been able to or yes, maybe they just don’t care that much?

My husband loves to tell our friends that, Debra just doesn’t trust anyone. Which leads me into trying to explain why I am the way I am, which is really none of their concern. I grew up in what you would call a dysfunctional family in the south riddled with alcohol abuse and bipolar disorder. Maybe that’s part of the reason why I feel I need to be informed as much as possible about what is going on with the pandemic and all the outrageous politics going on today. I know part of it is habit after all, I’ve been anxiously watching the news for just about a year now. I have been waiting for something good to happen that will let all of us go back to being normal or some form of it again. I can hug my kids again without feeling like I could get infected from them, which makes me feel guilty in some way that I can’t really explain.

Maybe it comes down to that some people don’t have as complex lives as others and that gives them the ability to not be so concerned or care so much. I know I am not the only one who becomes mad and resentful when they see people in grocery stores with no mask on or the people who are dining indoors in the warmth. Deep down in my soul I feel we all need to find a way to respect the fact that so many people have already died and are dying each day and to find a way to do whatever we can to stop this pandemic.

All I really know for sure, is I so want to be a better person and stop feeling so confused, judgmental, and angry. It is completely exhausting me.

Some of us think holding on makes us strong but sometimes it is letting go “even just a little” is what can make us even stronger.

Also, it is important to remember the great words of Martin Luther King:

Never, never be afraid to do the right thing, especially if the wellbeing of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.

Note to self: Next time I am out eating in the freezing cold, Dear GOD, I will try my best not to resent the people eating inside in the warmth, leisurely eating their hot food and sitting in their cozy chairs. I will fight my urge to run inside the restaurant and stand in the middle of the floor and yell, “what are you people thinking, don’t you people watch the news?  There is a pandemic going on here!” Instead, I will be thankful that I have good friends who will sit with me in the freezing cold and have faith that one day soon we will all come together and figure this mess out and finally bring an end to this Pandemic. 🙂