We have all been living a life not really our own. We are living the way the pandemic mandates – in isolation, with restrictions, and feeling the worries of the world. The future is hard to even think about when our here and nows are so messed up and blend together as if we were all in a bad rendition of Ground Hog Day. Statistics about the virus – death and counts – are thrown at us like beads off a Mardi Gras float, each of us deciding if we want to catch them, or let them fall to ignorance. And a fog of bleakness descends on us all making it hard to see in front of us, let alone see any light ahead. I know all of this as my life has been a shit show when Death snatched Peter from me. And yet, I found a way to look forward instead of down at this field of explosive tireless mines grief and this damn pandemic planted.
A few days ago, after I sobbed out another round of loneliness in a house falling apart and bursting with memories, I started to play a mental game. I grew tired of my woes, my angst, my claustrophobia, my withering writing muse, and my anxiety induced hypochondria. And so, I escaped into a game I call “When This All Ends, I will..” and it went like this.
When this all ends, I will do the obvious and travel to see my daughter, my bestie in Michigan, and have dates with my friends. When this all ends, I will hug the people in my life endlessly. When this all ends, I will go back to Discovery, stand on my balcony, and embrace the scenery of the once-again bustling city I love. When this all ends, I will volunteer as a mentor for middle school or high school kids. When this all ends, I will awaken my writing muse with new and exciting ideas. When this all ends, I will put myself out there and explore more cities and towns touting the book I already have written. When this all ends, I will go to a baseball game, whatever level. When this all ends, I will do more of everything for I know what it is liked to be caged in for far too long so I will act like released inmate wanting everything.
Every day, I try to add to my list. I don’t consider money, resources or restrictions. I don’t let anything chained me down by limitations. It’s not how to play this game. All this game requires is to set your mind free and run with your dreams. Let go of the “maybe one day I will” and let in “I will”. Don’t think too hard of the consequences of jobs or other commitments. In fact, block those out to be figured out later. Just take yourself to the possibilities and leave behind the constraints. Dreams are meant to hold hope and release realities. In today’s world, where actuality seems so destructive, we need releases, we need to dream, we need hope.
And hey, some of your additions to “When this all ends, I will” can be attainable. If your head is under the clouds, then by all means, add something tangible to your beginning sentences. Or, mix them up a bit. There’s nothing wrong with still believing in fairy tales or daydreaming. In fact, these may be the actual things to pull all of us through this. We all need good endings, a happily ever after, to get us through the rough chapters in life. Create them for yourselves in your head, and perhaps they will come to fruition in your lives.
When I sob out yet more tears about my own loneliness, my own confusion how so much was taken from me these past nine months, I go to the place of afterwards. I fill in the blanks following “When this all ends, I will…” I fill them in with my dreams, some far-fetched, some concrete, some needing work. It gives me a glimpses of hopes of futuristic openings. It gives me glimpses of what lies beyond this dark field of weeds to the flowers. And it gives me encouragement to work through my nows, sometimes, even in peace.