I woke up this Easter morning to the sound of the morning birds, strong winds, and a bright blue sky.
The current state of the world has given me plenty of time to sit with my thoughts. All of a sudden I have time.
Now, because I have designed a lifestyle where I can choose how to spend my time for the most part, I have always had time but was choosing to remain busy. It took a pandemic for me to realize this.
Things that mattered before don’t seem to matter as much anymore. Things that truly matter to us are coming to light. For me that is quality time with family and quality time doing the things I love like learning, reading, writing, and watching cute movies.
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I finally left the house after a while a couple of days ago to get some groceries. Typically, I get groceries delivered but as more people opt for home delivery, it is taking longer and longer for orders to be delivered.
The roads in Merida were eerily empty. No one was out. It was quiet.
At Walmart there were X’s leading up to the cash register to ensure social distancing remains practiced.
A heaviness could be felt. The Mexican people are some of the kindest and warmest human beings on earth yet the smile on many of the faces of the people I passed that day was nowhere to be found.
They looked defeated and worried.
You see. For many Mexicans, they live day by day. When businesses closed all of a sudden, they were left with no way to feed their families.
While some of us complain of boredom, myself included, they crumble at the thought of not being able to feed their families.
This is the reality for many in my host country.
Sure numbers look pretty low for Mexico but the reality is that tests here are super expensive. People aren’t going to choose to spend money on tests when it is a choice between keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table.
It is just not going to happen.
The virus is here. It is everywhere.
There is something more dangerous though than the virus in Mexico and that is starvation.
It is easy for someone like myself to STAY HOME and SAVE A LIFE but that is not possible for someone who lives day by day.
I don’t know what the solution is. I feel helpless and selfish for my thoughts of boredom, fear, anxiety, and sadness when I have it so good.
I walked around Walmart collecting things I needed/wanted. The last items I put in the cart were a tent and two air mattresses.
It seems odd to be buying camping gear at a time like this and some would say these are not essential items but to a mother who is practicing being more present during this pandemic, these items seem pretty darn essential.
You see. Before I left my toxic marriage, before my family was torn apart by abuse, infidelity, and heartache, I loved to camp.
We didn’t do it often and I wouldn’t recommend it while pregnant in freezing weather (ask me how I know) but there is something so freeing about camping out in nature under the stars.
My oldest and I set up the tent in our backyard. The directions said it should take 5 minutes but it took us close to an hour. We laughed during the whole process.
At one point our puppy peed on the tent before we got it up, my toddler kept stealing the poles to the tent, and we even had to take it back down since we set it up wrong only to try again.
Eventually, we got it up, blew up the air mattresses and after a virtual movie night watching the Under The Tuscan Sun with members in my Inner Circle, we went outside to sleep under the stars.
Besides the cheap air mattresses deflating in the middle of a night, it was a nice experience.
It is crazy to think that a couple of weeks ago marked a year that we’ve been living in Merida, Mexico.
We were out with friends all the time, taking day trips to the beach, complaining about the blazing heat, eating delicious food at various restaurants around town, and loving getting to know a new city.
It is like the beginning of a relationship where everything is new and exciting.
Eventually, we settled into routines and normal life. It was less vacation mode and more home life mode.
I didn’t even recognize that I was quickly falling into the American dream I had so desperately tried to escape from years ago.
Our days before the pandemic looked like this:
I’d wake up around 8 am, get dressed, get my toddler dressed, send my daughter off to school, I then went to cowork until about 4 pm, and then I would pick up my toddler and head home to work some more.
I never felt like I could catch up with work or the latest idea I had. I wanted to be more present with my family but lacked balance in my home/work life. I guess you could say I was addicted to work.
My teens spent days away from home spending time with friends. I rarely saw them which is odd after spending two and a half years traveling full-time as a family where we spent nearly 24/7 together.
Now that we are together again 24/7 I have learned so much about my teens. We go on walks together late at night, we watch movies and shows together, we laugh, we argue, we cook together, and even camp together.
This is our new reality and although I spent the first few weeks moping around, not showering half the time, lost, scared, crying, panicked, angry, and feeling very alone, I am now adjusting to this new world of ours.
I no longer dread waking up in the mornings.
I look forward to the whipped iced coffee my teen makes me each morning.
I look forward to the video messages my Inner Circle Mommas leave on Marco Polo.
I look forward to the bickering between my teens and toddler and my virtual workouts with my amazing and talented friend Jennifer Johnson.
For those of you still struggling with this new reality, I want you to know that you will get through this. Let yourself feel whatever it is that you need to feel. You do not have to write a book, start a business, or whatever else is being shared around social media about how we should be doing all these things when some people are dealing with keeping their family fed, battling depression, managing anxiety, and just trying to get through each day the best they can.
It is okay to be still.
You are seen. You are heard. You are loved.