“Better Days” Supertramp 1985

Welcome back to SOLO at SIXTY!

(note: with only 1 outing, this week’s pictures are all from my neighborhood!)

WHOA! We’ve definitely seen better days. Last week this time, Carolina was still playing basketball, having won their first game in the ACC tournament, and were getting ready to take the court for their second game. That game, which we lost, turned out to be the final game of the tournament. Who would have thought that this year Carolina would have played further in March than Duke? (hahaha! Good one, right?) And who would have thought that “March Madness” would be replaced with “March Sadness”? And that not only college basketball, but all college sports, and all professional sports would be over? No basketball, no baseball, no softball, no LAX, no sports. Period. None. Nada. What will ESPN do? What will my son-in-law do?!?!?

And who could ever have imagined that all of our schools, churches, bars, restaurants, gyms, offices, movie theaters, you name it, would be closed? Even my beloved library. Closed. And not a sign of snow anywhere! Instead, a scary virus wreaking havoc on our lives. The coronavirus, aka, covid19. Know where the name comes from? “Co” for corona, “vi” for virus, “d” for disease, and 19 for the year the first case was reported. Creative. Just like this virus.

Last meal out with a friend for who knows how long…but it was a good, fun one!

Are you nervous? I wasn’t… I mean, I probably blew the notion of contracting the virus off, until I went to a presentation at work. Our staff doctor gave a basic, down to earth, simple presentation explaining the coronavirus, including the difference between a viral infection and a bacterial one. I think we all know that the biggest difference is that with a bacterial infection, an antibiotic is prescribed, while there is no medicine for a viral infection. They have to run their course with the help of rest, fluids, and fever reducing aids. What I did not know is that a virus is not a living entity. Covid19 attacks, gets into, and replicates in and with your cells. What was amazing to me was that children up to the age of 19, are not suffering from the coronavirus. If they get it, they are asymptomatic. (Hmmm… is the coronavirus following the legal age for “having a Corona?!”) And those in their 20’s-50’s are getting it, and surviving. That’s when our Doc called out 3 of us in the room (yep, me included), saying we were in the higher risk group. “WHAT? Wait… I am NOT 65 years old yet!” I told him… to which he responded… “the high risk group is over 60.” Uh-oh… ok, that is me. Sorry Doc. I am officially nervous.

So… what was his advice? Wash your hands. Constantly. For 20 seconds. Don’t touch your face, your nose, your mouth, or your eyes. (Do you know how many times you touch your face in an hour? 23+) And practice “social distancing.” Immediately. Of course, at the time we were all jammed into our conference room, but… well…

“When you can’t control what’s happening, challenge yourself to control the way you respond to what’s happening. That’s where your power is.”

Social distancing? Huh? Ever heard of that phrase before last week? Me either. Yes, we should keep a distance of about 6 feet between us and the next person, as droplets from coughs and sneezes can travel up to 6 feet. UVA Professor of Physics, Lou Bloomfield explained that each person infected with the corona virus infects about 2-3 people daily. Then those infect 2-3 each. Exponentially, the number doubles about every couple of days. So… if we practice social distancing, we can slow this number down exponentially! Flatten the curve. Makes sense.

But y’all… I know social distancing is ideal for introverts, but for us extroverts, it is a major struggle. No hugs, no high 5’s, no handshakes, no sharing, no contact. And now, my new normal – working from home. Yep, I did get the nervous bug, and since we are now allowed to have only 10 people working at one time on our floor, I am working from home. Picked up a printer on my way home from work yesterday (curbside delivery service), so I am all set up. Luckily for me, the only basic requirements for my job are a computer and access to the internet. Both of those are available to me at home, and now I have a printer. But who will I talk to?!?

“Life is not always a celebration; so be ready to courageously face disappointments when they come and be sure to grow stronger and wiser from them.” – Edmond Mbiaka

Our schools are closed until the middle of April at the earliest. I’m sure yours are as well. All the fun plans I had for the next 2 months have been cancelled – races, parties, get togethers, trips. Yes, this is real folks. And when I decided I might better stock up on some groceries, seeing that I never have much food in my house, I discovered there was the run on TP. That I did not get – this is a respiratory illness, not a gastro illness! Go figure… And there was not an antibacterial wipe or cleaning supply in sight. This is definitely real. And this is our new normal for the foreseeable future.

“At the end of the day, all you need is Hope and Strength. Hope that it will get better, and Strength to hold on until it does.”

With all the gloom and doom over the coronavirus, can we find anything good in these times? Of course we can! For me, I have been forced to slow down, stay home, and take time for reflection. Parents are appreciating their children’s teachers more and more every day. Neighbors are checking on neighbors. Families checking on loved ones. My mom’s assisted living set up facetiming for the residents this week and I got to “see” and talk to my Momma. Not sure she quite got it all, but maybe she won’t think we abandoned her. (I got a facetime call today and my sweet Momma told me I looked like I had been in a windstorm! What?!? I mean, I am working from home so I am in my comfy clothes, no make up, hair up, but I did not know I looked that bad! Ahhh… out of the mouths of babes and Great G-mas!) Did you see the sweet scene on the national news Tuesday about a NC girl who got engaged and wanted to share her happy news with her grandfather? Only problem was, he is in assisted living with no visitors. So she went outside his window and held up her hand with her new diamond ring and they put their hands together on the glass. Made me cry. I know, doesn’t take much, but that did me in!

“Keep looking up… that’s the secret of life.” – Charlie Brown

And have you seen the quarantined Italians singing out their windows? And quarantined Spaniards exercising on their balconies together? Bright spots. Making the best of a really bad situation. Plus all the kindnesses being shown. As Maria Shriver says, “Perhaps this is a moment to radically come together and practice radical compassion, radical empathy, and radical caring for our fellow human beings.” Let’s be radical y’all. Radical and safe.

“One of the most important things you can do on this earth is to let people know they are not alone.” Shannon L. Alder

I am missing my family, my friends, and my co-workers, but I am being very careful. I am in touch with my kids and my family daily.  I am missing my gym friends and my classes. I am getting out to walk and go for a run. If I have to go to the grocery store, I am going to go with the “elderly” crowds during their special time the first hour the stores open. I am learning, as I am sure most of you are, that we take a lot for granted in our lives. I want the normalcy back in my life as I am sure y’all do as well. We will get through this, we just don’t know how long it will take. In the meantime, show compassion, practice patience, make smart decisions, and check on your neighbors, because as we all know, none of us is promised tomorrow.

“You do what you have to do, until you can do what you want to do.” – Oprah Winfrey

Best,

Leslie

PS…

“When this is over, may we never again take for granted: A handshake with a stranger, full shelves at the store, conversations with neighbors, a crowded theatre, Friday night out, the taste of communion, a routine checkup, the school rush each morning, coffee with friends, the stadium roaring, each deep breath, a boring Tuesday, life itself. When this ends, may we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be, we were called to be, we hoped to be, and may we stay that way – better for each other because of the worst.” – Laura Kelly Fanucci

 

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