Today, I’m starting the day by focusing on the bright side, even as I’m swinging a bit emotionally.
Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse
When you’re chewing on life’s gristle
Don’t grumble, give a whistle
And this’ll help things turn out for the best
Looking at the bright side requires a mix of gratitude, optimism, and irrational/magical thinking. It’s looking at something terrible and flipping it on its head to turn it into a positive, particularly when you want to crawl under your bed and wallow in your sadness. Maybe that’s why it can feel a bit insane – and why the Monty Python song keeps playing in my brain…
If life seems jolly rotten
There’s something you’ve forgotten
And that’s to laugh and smile and dance and sing
When you’re feeling in the dumps
Don’t be silly chumps
Just purse your lips and whistle, that’s the thing
Let’s start with more time. Everything is canceled. That sucks. And yes, it’s also given us time to take a breath. To sleep in. To connect. To acknowledge we had said yes to too many things.
Even as I tiptoe around the emotional landmines that are teenagers struggling with the milestones and moments COVID has stolen from our kids, the kids have both mentioned the “bright side” of time spent together. More conversations. More movie nights. More cuddles.
And more empathy as they see their parents managing mostly, struggling sometimes, sad often, breaking occasionally. Realizing their dad and I aren’t just the supporters, but also in need of support. Whether that’s giving a hug, coming to the grocery store, or helping around the house.
After months of complaining about not getting enough help cleaning the house, I’ve come to the realization that it’s not that kids wouldn’t help, it’s that I didn’t have the patience to wait for them. During normal times, when I was out of the house every day, I felt driven to get all the domestic duties done on Saturday, so I could relax on Sunday and not have anything hanging over my head for the rest of the week. Now, I’m stepping back and waiting until everyone can lend a hand.
Which has given me time a lot more room for creativity. There is a growing pile of recipes I’ve tried, and plan to collect in a Coronavirus cookbook, in the kitchen. The solarium (which is a fancy word for a tiny room at the back of our house) is filled with veggies I’ve been growing from seed. The dining room has been taken over by my mother’s sewing machine as I make masks and buffs from recycled clothing.
And which has inspired the kids who, aren’t loving the new e-learning situation, but are starting to explore new interests. Rooms have been cleaned and organized, without my help or encouragement. Our son is auditing a college class, started Japanese on Duolingo, and is looking at colleges to check out at a virtual college fair. Our daughter has painted her room, learned how to make bucket hats, and started mountain biking again.
I know there is more on the bright side, but this is good for now because it’s time to move on with my day. The sun is shining. It promises to be in the 60s today. And I’m planning on gardening. Mountain biking with our daughter. And remaining focused on the bright side.
I mean, what have you got to lose?
You know, you come from nothing
You’re going back to nothing
What have you lost? Nothing