I had to drive my daughter Kate, a Sophomore, to the University of Kansas – KU Jayhawks, “Rock Chalk”- this week. We wanted her to have a car being so far away from home… as the Covid saying goes, “Control the things that you can control.” As we packed the car, I realized that there had been no back to school shopping, and she took very little. After all, how long will she be there?
While driving across the country, I realized how vast COVID-19 actually is. In Indiana, you can go to Wendy’s and eat inside while in Illinois, don’t even think of sitting down. There was a mix of mask use but for the most part, people were actually wearing their masks from MA, CT, NY, PA, OH, IN, IL, MO, and finally, KS. It opened my eyes to the longevity and magnitude of this… after all, we have just been hunkered down in our own little world in New England.
I left KU feeling that we had prepared the best that we could given the circumstances. But I think if you want to make Covid laugh… make a plan. There is going to have to be a lot of flexibility, respect, and responsibility this year.
While dropping her off wearing a mask, the only advice I had was “Wear Your Mask.” That feels pathetic but I had no other words of wisdom. We normally would spend hours arranging and decorating her dorm room until it was perfect but all we did was make her bed and unpack a few clothes all in about 20 minutes. Leaving felt like dropping her off in a war zone saying, “figure it out.” She has been at home with us for 6 months with very little access to people outside of our family and while having some adjusting to do she was both excited (and want it to be “normal”) and nervous about Covid.
But the young are known for pivoting. They should not be with their parents right now, they need to separate and be with their peers to learn and grow socially so that they can go out into the world and make their mark. So… we drive across the country, we let go, support the best we can and pray! In order to not drive me and everyone around me nuts, my plan is to stay very present and only look ahead in a two-week timeline. Through meditation, I have learned that if I am present at the exact moment, there is no room for anxiety.
I have to quarantine after this trip, and I’ll use the time to work remotely designing two new construction houses and a large addition (oh, and a ton of emails and zoom meetings!!) I find myself being super creative and productive when I’m just chilling out alone and spending time with nature. When I walk, I design. When I watch the lobster boats, I design. When I listen to the birds and waves, I design. When I watch the chipmunks torture Charlie, I laugh (also heal). It’s been important for me to learn how I work best creatively alone and when I need to be in the office and in front of staff, contractors, and clients. Honestly, I’m actually looking forward to the time – then again, I’m an introvert who has learned how to run a business in an extroverted world.
Let’s take a lesson from the young and pivot. Be safe, responsible, and respectful of others. Learn how you work best. Fall always brings transition and this one will be significant for most people; patience will be imperative. Be well, be safe, and be sane!