I am a planner. I love making a list, checking it twice, getting things done, and crossing them off with my trusty pink highlighter. Whether it’s my current project list, getting weekly Kindergarten homework done, or planning our next visit to California, I want to know exactly what needs to be done in detail, by when, and then have a visual confirmation that I’ve taken care of it. (I have a feeling this is one of the things my clients appreciate too).
That’s one of the things that makes this particular phase of shelter-in-place harder for me. I can still get my daily highlighter fix while I’m making magic in the office, but it’s really hard to do that in the rest of my life right now. And as we slowly start to reopen, I’m all the more acutely aware of it. Can we still plan to go on our annual family beach trip in August? Who knows. Probably, maybe? When should we go back to daycare or summer camp? Or should we? I’ve just been elected a VP of fundraising for my son’s school, and the first big fundraiser is in September. Or is it? The unknowing is driving me crazy. Did I mention I’m a worrier too? Double whammy.
I can drive myself crazy with all of the what-ifs, but that is a huge waste of time and energy. So I’ve been really trying to focus on gratitude instead. Because in reality, things in my household are really good. We’re healthy (as are all of the people we love), we’re in a groove with work and school, we enjoy spending time together (mostly!), and I’ve got an amazing chocolate ding dong cake in the fridge (I’m becoming quite the baker, if I say so myself). But it’s easy to lose sight of all of that in the not knowing what’s ahead. So every now and then, when I find myself thinking too much about the what-ifs, I pick 5 things that I’m grateful for in that moment and shift my attention towards the positive.
I’m also channeling that gratitude into action when I can. There are lots of people who are struggling right now, so I try to pay my good fortune forward at least once a week, whether it’s a box of food to the local food pantry, or a donation to the school district foundation to support school families who need help. Even if I can’t control or plan, I can DO something. And I think that’s even better.
How are you coping with the uncertainty? Do you have a gratitude practice?