Wouldn’t it be great if we could fast forward 50 years so we didn’t have to deal with Covid stress anymore? Well, you can…. in your own mind, at least. Thinking about how you’ll think about what you’re going through today in 10, 20, or even 50 years really helps problems feel smaller. And when your problems feel less daunting, it’s easier to keep going.
Listen to the podcast on Covid Stress here:
I was commiserating with a fellow mom friend about covid stress and how hard the quarantine has been on our kids and she told me that when they went to her daughter’s school to clean out her locker at the end of the school year, and it was empty and weird and a little spooky, she told her daughter, you know this is going to be in history books; you are going to be telling your kids and your grandkids about how you were in 6th grade when coronavirus broke out. I quickly snagged that and told my kids the same thing. I didn’t really know if it made much of an impression on them until one day I was out on a walk with my fourth grader and he said, “I don’t like corona but I think it’s cool that I’ll be in the history books. I can’t wait to tell my grandkids about this time.” Wow. Sometimes kids really listen, you know?
How Imagining the Future Helps You Deal With Covid Stress
Taking the long view tricks you into seeing your current situation with detachment and objectivity. It’s like all of a sudden you’re witnessing your life instead of swimming around in the waters that make up your life. And it’s that ability to witness that helps you not be so wrapped up in the thoughts that are swirling around in your head.
There’s a great quote about this in the book Know My Name by Chanel Miller. Miller is the woman who was assaulted by Brock Turner behind a dumpster on the Stanford campus while she was blacked out, the one who was rescued by two guys on bicycles who saw what was happening and intervened. Her book is a tough read, I admit, but it is amazing. She is so vulnerable and strong, so empathetic and honest about her anger and her sadness. I highly, highly highly recommend everyone read it to see the true cost of sexual assault.
But that’s not why I’m mentioning this book now. I’m mentioning it because Chanel’s mother was born in China where she experienced phenomenal hardships. Chanel didn’t know her mother during this time, of course, she knew her as a suburban American mom. But after her assault, her mom shared some of her early stories. Here’s what Chanel wrote about hearing them.
“When I listened to her, I understood: You have to hold out to see how your life unfolds, because it is most likely beyond what you can imagine. It is not a question of if you will survive this, but what beautiful things await you when you do. I had to believe her, because she was living proof. Then she said, Good and bad things come from the universe holding hands. Wait for the good to come.”
So there will be moments where you will be wondering if you can survive this, whatever ‘this’ is for you. Maybe that’s not happening now, maybe corona is treating you mostly OK so far, but we all have moments where aren’t sure we can get through to other side. I’m saying, thinking about how you’ll look back on this time when you are significantly older than you are now will help you see this as just one of the beads on the necklace that is your life, and may even give you a glimpse of what you’ll value the most about the good to come.
Your tiny assignment for today, then, is to take just a smidge of time, just a couple of minutes, and think about what you’ll tell your grandkids about this time that you lived through. Get comfy, close your eyes, just listen to your own breath for a couple of inhales and exhales, and then visualize the conversation. (This is how I like to do this kind of stuff, maybe writing in your journal is more your jam, or talking to someone about it–it all works.)