Monday morning. 8:30am. It happened...
Our first major collision.
Up until then, at least to that point, my family had been handling the quarantine fairly well, working around each other and understanding that these are unprecedented times that require extra patience and understanding.
That lasted until Monday morning, the first day of work for both of us under “official” quarantine.
It was like we were sudden enemies, jockeying for power, control and space, while desperately trying to cling to some semblance of “normalcy” for a work day, pre-COVID19.
Gone was the patience, understanding and gentleness from before.
Now, our home looked much more like the scene of a car accident, where both parties involved were vehemently trying to get the other side to see our point of view. Whew.
My partner and I both lost our minds for a minute as we came face-to-face with our newfound reality that we will now be sharing the same space, both of us trying to do our jobs as thoroughly and professionally as we can, while displaced from our everyday work routine and environment.
We’re gonna be in the same space.
OH MY GOODNESS.
It feels almost like being in a snow globe that is still shaking.
At least the “work from home” part does.
I am a homebody by nature, so being forced to stay home isn’t that much of a stretch for me. Perhaps it is my “introverted” personality or perhaps it comes from growing up in a small town where there wasn’t a whole lot to do.
Either way, being forced to stay at home isn’t a huge challenge for me.
But being forced to negotiate space 24/7 with my family, for an indefinite amount of time, while trying to work my job (and do it well!): well, yea, that’s a whole new ballgame.
It’s really difficult when the natural boundaries that come from everybody going their own way during the day to work, school and other activities, are completely erased.
This sudden and huge change in personal space is forcing all of us to wade through the necessary process of renegotiating boundaries with our children, partners, spouses, parents and even pets.
Yes, even our pets.
I notice that even my cats are a bit thrown off from having their humans around all day long, sitting in their favorite spots, making noise and just generally taking up space.
They sure don’t mind the extra treats though!
Face it folks, in these strange times, pain is inevitable. Growth is optional.
Thankfully, after a few minutes and some deep breaths, my partner and I were both able to back up and remember that these are unprecedented times that have thrown everything in our world upside down.
We started over.
We love “do-overs” here in my house...you know, being able to “start over” and try it again a second time based on what we learned from the first time.
We remembered that these are unprecedented times. And that we’ve never been here before so we are NOT expected to know how to do this perfectly, really how to even live this situation at all. And that we are on the same side in this. We’re #alonetogether.
And that it’s going to be a HUGE experiment in sharing space a different way.
And that to the best of our ability we are going to be patient with each other and when we cannot, be sure to come back and repair the connection when we feel ready.
So, we basically gave ourselves permission to live this as best as we can, not perfectly.
This is the grace that we all need right now.
You’ve never been in this situation before, so you are not expected to know how to live it.
Right now, discomfort is inevitable. That’s what happens at the edge of our comfort zone and ‘boy howdy, this COVID-19 outbreak is stretching all of us right now!
Do the best that you can. Reach out for help negotiating when you need to.
Let yourself be human right now and avoid perfection or high expectations for yourself and everyone else.
We all need gentleness and compassion right now as we work through this strange new normal.
I am grateful that you are a part of my community and am here to support you however I can. I am just a phone call, a message or an email away.
We’re all in this together. Keep your heart close and you’ll get to the other side. I promise.
Kate is an INFJ-3 on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Enneagram.