“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them”. – Rabindranath Tagore
It is rather unbelievable how much our lives can change in a matter of weeks and even days at this point. As the world moves into the unimaginable lockdown, many of us are feeling scared, isolated and anxious about the future. I read a post from a fellow travel blogger, Lexi of One Foot Out the Door called Hello from Houston and it sparked a glimmer of hope and connection in this uncertain, unprecedented time. Wouldn’t it be nice if more of us checked in and shared with each other what we are all going through in our own parts of the world? Maybe it would bring us more together and help us feel less alone? Without further ado, here is my own “Hello From Minnesota” update. While honestly, this post is a far cry from any of my travel writing, I feel like it is the least I can do right now to feel connected to my online community.
Please share with me your story. If you write your own “Hello from” post, please share a link in the comments as it would be nice to start a thread of messages from around the world.
I’d love to know how everyone is doing. Stay well!
Hello from Minneapolis, Minnesota my home of over twenty years where we are blessed with a cosmopolitan city and a state of over 10,000 lakes.
As I sit here at my desk in my home office, I think how bizarre it is to be entering our second full week of the “new normal” with my entire family working and learning from home under one roof. My son’s high school was the first to close indefinitely on Friday, March 13th and my daughter’s middle school was next. A few days after, every school in the entire state was ordered to close until May but I’m wondering if that is even realistic. Meanwhile, my husband’s office officially closed and locked their doors last week and he has been working in his home office in our basement. It feels so odd to all be under one roof 24/7! But it also brings me peace in this isolating, scary time.
While we aren’t on a “shelter in place” order yet (this starts tomorrow, Friday March 27th until April 10th) we are told to stay home and if we do venture out to social distance of the standard six feet. Our restaurants and bars have closed until at least May but again probably longer. Malls and theaters shut down while more and more stores are trying to offer order online and curb side pick up. The streets are empty of traffic yet on nice days it feels like everyone has come out of hibernation and is walking around our lakes (which is a problem with social distancing!).
Almost two weeks into the “new normal” is not only hard to believe but mentally hard. I keep re-reading all the quotes I have on mental toughness and strength to get me through this pandemic without losing hope. I also have truly tried to stop reading too much news as it just seems to increase my anxiety levels. I have always been a worrywart and it is hard to not be one right now. Yet on the positive light, I feel so blessed to live in a state with amazing leadership by our governor and excellent health care and businesses that are all doing whatever they can to help out. Medtronic is making more ventilators, 3M is ramping up their mask production, and Mayo Clinc is helping with the backlog of tests. Minnesotans are stepping in to help the vulnerable by donating food items, creating makeshift food pantries, volunteering and more. I have never felt so proud to be a part of this community. We are all in this together.
Since this all began, I have realized how much of my normal everyday life that I took for granted. Yes it was too busy. Yes it was a bit crazy, but it was my life and I loved it.
The morning early rises to drive my son to school. Listening to music and the radio in the car while I ran my errands. The ease of going grocery shopping or the delight of going out to eat with friends. Seeing my community. Going anywhere besides being stuck in the house save my daily walks. It is unimaginable how much our lives have all changed and how quickly. If I think about it for too long I know I will start to cry.
As we prepare to really hunker down even more before our two week order to stay home except if absolutely necessary I remind myself in such difficult times like these what I’m grateful for:
- Getting outside for a walk each day in nature and seeing people I know from afar has been wonderful.
- Lots and lots of family time while we are all cooped up in the house.
- Making slow cooker meatballs and other homemade treats with the kids.
- The birds are singing and Spring is on its way meaning I can spend more time outside after a long winter.
- More Zoom, Skype and Facetime calls with friends and family around the world.
- An overall feeling of a stronger community. I am encouraged by how much we’ve all been able to come together.
- Food, shelter, water and love.
- My home. My Minnesota.
Things that I miss and will be so thrilled to be able to do again someday:
- My extended family! We all live so far apart and all across the US. I long to be near them but simply can’t for awhile.
- Being out and about. I have never been a homebody and have always had a hard time being in the house for an entire day. This has been a real test for me to find joy in being “trapped” inside my house when I long to be out wandering about and part of something bigger than my home.
- Travel. Travel. Travel. This is a selfish thing to miss in a time like this one but travel has always been the one things that I love so much besides my family. I am not sure when travel will resume again but I am so incredibly blessed to have been able to do what I’ve done over the years.
- My community. From the restaurants to the coffee shops to the stores and schools and even my gym. I sure miss seeing each and every person that makes up my community.
- My travel work and blogging. I was just getting started working with some really amazing travel outfitters around the world but that has dried up as has my travel writing.
So like I said above, this is not by any means an excellent piece of writing but it is writing from my heart. I want everyone who reads this to know that I am thinking of you all, wherever you are in the world. Please let me know how you are doing. I will leave with this quote, a silver lining to this difficult time.
“We’re so engaged in doing things to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget that the inner value – the rapture that is associated with being alive, is what it’s all about”. – Joseph Campbell
Update: I’m going to keep a running list here of fellow bloggers who are updating us from around the world on what their lives have been like and the impact. It is a great way to keep us all connected. Please check out their posts and offer words of encouragement. We are all in this together!
If you have written a similar post, please let me know and I will share.