Just when I thought life could not get any stranger, it did. A mere week ago I had my trip to Cordoba, Argentina planned to witness the birth of my first grandchild. I worked tirelessly to get all my ducks in a row in order to be able to make such a trip during a very busy academic season. Long story short: Did not happen. However, my partner Rene’ was able to grab the very last flight that Argentina would allow into the country by pulling some strings and an American Airlines rabbit out of a hat.
But cross your fingers, as I write this she is still in the air…so who knows. (see the conclusion of this blog)
I dropped her off at a ghost town called LAX. Turns out I’m not the only one cancelling travel plans. As we exchanged our tearful goodbyes, it was amidst a vast sea of uncertainties, including not knowing when I will see her again…when everything hit me like a ton of bricks.
My guttural moans and weeping shrieks bubbled to the surface.
I broke down. Yes, I was guilty of uncontrollably weeping while driving.
I do not consider myself a very healthy emotional person. Unless healthy means hardly feeling anything when the shit goes down for months at a time, only to then let it all out in one giant weep fest. A weep fest that sneaks up on you whenever it so chooses. Call it what you will, a weep fest or break down, in either case it is a barrage of feeling everything -at the same time.
Yes, a large reason I cried was because the love of my life was leaving for an uncertain period of time, but oh so much more.
The tears of grief, sadness and joy were fueled by:
- My ailing and dying father.
- Still grieving and missing my departed mother.
- The selling of my childhood home.
- The joy of the rekindling a relationship with my sisters after nearly twenty years of not speaking.
- Sadness I will not get to hold my newborn grandson in my arms.
- The joy of knowing I am going to be a grandfather.
- Sadness I will not be there for my son and his wife in the most momentous event of their lives.
- My new transition into my twilight years. Grandpa Jimmy.
Of course I cannot discount the Coronavirus social freak out that is happening globally at the moment. I know that was a huge part of the break down equation. But why?
This is now a new season of uncertainty for all of us. Just how bad is this public health crisis? No one knows. I do try to live by the creed that things are never as bad or good as they may seem at the moment. Therefore given this little proverb, things can only look up, cause things seem pretty damn bad.
For those who know me, they will be the first to tell you my thoughts on fear and the media. Fear is to media what gas is to my Honda or what a battery is to a Tesla. Therefore my initial inclination is this whole thing is fear on overdrive derived for profit by a soulless media. And I still believe this, but only in part. The fear is real though they will take every opportunity to shove more fear down our throats, so long as it increases clicks and attracts eyeballs.
However, I have another fairly fundamental belief concerning the explanation as to why something may be happening: that of simply following the money. People do not turn their noses up to billions of dollars in untapped revenues. Rich individuals do not cancel events that costs them hundreds of millions of dollars for no good reason. And unless there is some mastermind conspiracy for global something or another, I have to believe the threat is very real and not even slightly conjured up. Sorry conspiracy theorists, can’t ride that train on this one.
I believe it is in all our best interests to see this health crisis as both an opportunity as well as a threat. Officials are instructing us to try to stay home as much as possible and, when in public, practice social distancing. This may be a perfect season to now start that novel you have always wanted to write, read that book you seem to never have time for, or watch some of those Netflix shows everyone’s been talking about for years. We can reconnect with loved ones or do those house projects we’ve been putting off. I plan on hiking up our property tomorrow and clearing out space to plant some new fruit trees. I can finish blogs I have started and never got around to finishing them. Maybe now is the perfect time to put away the booze and get sober or start that diet you’ve been putting off. Being as healthy we can be right now is a great idea. Other ideas:
- Learn a new musical instrument
- Watch some youtube videos on learning a new skill, perhaps learn how to clean those musty headlights on your car
- Start the practice of meditation
- If a student, get ahead on your reading. If not, just read!
- Take long walks in nature
- Paint a picture
- Clean your room
- Do what I did today…practice social distancing at the beach…while reading the biography of Leonardo Da Vinci (do you know he designed weapons for war?)
- And the list goes on….
As far as the coronavirus itself? If we live wisely and practice smart sanitary living, chances are we are good. If not, the damn virus is going to do what the damn virus wants to do. We cannot live our lives worried about the “what ifs” in life. If we get sick? Try to get better. Perhaps this is also a time for us to grow as a person, in that we can learn to live amidst higher degrees of uncertainty. It is good thing to be reminded that nature is bigger and stronger than the rest of us. Learn to respect and appreciate life just a little bit more. Enjoy a big slice of humble pie.
I realize this pandemic will cause financial hardships for many. Now is a good time to get financially creative as well as generous for those in need.
Yes, I broke down in the car, though recovered and still realize I live in the same reality. Same issues. However, perhaps this is a time when I can reflect and work through some of my issues and practice gratitude and thankfulness for this beautiful thing we call life.
This is an opportunity to sit back (alone), take a deep breath, and hit life’s reset button.
We can learn a little something from the children of Italy who are painting signs all over the country, stating “Everything Will Be Alright.”
And it will.
One way or another.
Addendum: The day after I wrote this blog, Argentina would not allow Rene’s plane to disembark. She is flying back to Los Angeles as I write these words. At least in terms of seeing the love of my life soon, everything IS alright.