It feels SO GOOD to get out and do some of the things we used to do. But just because it’s technically OK for us to go to the beach, or gather in larger groups of people, it’s not a get out of jail free cards. The virus is still circulating. You can still get it, and you can still spread it to other people. You really want to be able to think about how you’ll feel the day after and be mindful of the risks even as you soak up how good it feels to be around other people.
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How Safe Are Your Socially Distanced Gatherings?
On Cinco de Mayo, which was a beautiful day here in Providence, my friend invited over three other people for an hour to have margaritas in her yard. We sat six feet apart, wore masks, and let me tell you it felt almost medicinal to be away from our families, just talking and laughing. Ahh…. We had one drink then all went home for dinner.
But the next morning, I woke up and felt a cold shiver when I thought about it. Hadn’t I touched the same ice tongs that everyone else had? The same tequila bottle? I hadn’t been wearing gloves. I had a pang of feeling like all the work I’d put in to keeping my distance I’d thrown away for one margarita. It was a delicious, soul-nourishing margarita, made with fresh lime juice (aw dang, I touched the squeezer too), but still…. Was it worth it?
Avoid Past Mistakes
You know, there’s no perfect way to re-emerge. The truth is, there’s no perfect way to do anything, whether we’re talking about how to stay safe in a pandemic, start a business, raise a kid or start a compost pile. There are always multiple ways to go about things, and multiple ways to get the outcome you want. And while that’s great news, and very freeing, because we don’t have to drive ourselves nuts trying to find the one right way, the flip side of that is that there’s no way to do that’s going to make us feel 100% safe. No matter what we’re endeavoring to do, we’re going to have ‘Oh crap, did I do that?’ moments.
You can always look back in hindsight and see where you misstepped and tell yourself that next time you’ll be able to avoid those same mistakes in the future when you think about how you’ll feel the day after. And, sure, we learn from our past mistakes, but it doesn’t get us out of making new ones.
It’s real easy to think about how good it will feel in the moment, especially when it’s something you haven’t done in a while and you’ve been missing. It’s kind of like eating the gooey comfort food—it’s no problem at all to imagine how good it will taste, how it’s delicious-ness will wrap you in a warm blanket of coziness. But it’s less likely that we think about how we’ll feel after we’ve done it—unpleasantly full, maybe groggy, or headeachy, or stomach ache-y.
So to bring this back to re-emerging from the corona quarantine, learn from my angst and try to use hindsight, except when you’re looking forward, to guide you as you re-emerge. By which I mean, think about how you’ll feel the day after you have sustained contact with people who haven’t been in your sacred quarantine circle.
Daily Tiny Assignment
That’s your tiny assignment for today—practice thinking about how each step of your re-emergence will feel the day after. Because while guidelines issued by health care professionals and government officials help us make decisions, ultimately the decisions are ours to make. Think about how you’ll feel the day after you get home from the crowded day on the beach.
You can also ask if there are precautions you could take that would mitigate your risk, and help you avoid that pit in your stomach the next morning.
Strengthen Those Muscles
It really helps to think this stuff through, otherwise you’ll get excited and forget your hand sanitizer or mask at home, because we’re still learning how to make these things parts of daily lives. You can’t eliminate the risk, but you can find ways to make it tolerable to you—and giving some thought to how you’ll feel AFTER you’ve taken the risk helps you do that. Because there’s no going back–you can’t unboil an egg, and you can’t turn back time and make a different choice. Thinking through how you might feel before you actually go and do the thing gives you options.
And remember that how you’ll feel the morning after doing something will likely change week to week, if not day by day. I think it’s a fair guess to say that things will re-open, and then there will be another flare of the virus, and they’ll tighten back up again. So finding your risk tolerance here isn’t set it and forget it; it’s something we’ll have to keep doing for at least the foreseeable future. So let’s strengthen those muscles.
Calm The Eff Down
If you missed it, for the three weeks before this I ran a 21-day Calm the Eff Down challenge, to help us all deal with the pandemic without losing our minds. You can go back to episode 170 and listen to it. AND. OR. You can download the mini e-book that i put together that maps out all 21 days.