Staying Positive When You're a Statistic (and We All Are)
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So we’ve pretty much lost April and are hurling towards May in this wonderful thing called social distancing…which turned into self-quarantine…which soon became lockdown in many states, and everyone has a story to tell.
My story, like many others, means adding up how many “statistics” of which I am now a part. I truly don’t recommend that, as it can get pretty depressing. I fall into quite a bit of them. This means, if I don’t find a way to turn them around and look at them in a positive way, I will go nuts and take my house with me.
I lost my job of 20 years.
I am one of the many people who was working for a small business that went under, in my case a well-read monthly arts and entertainment magazine. Unfortunately, there were LITERALLY no events being held in our area in April, so there was no need to publish. Instead of trying to adapt or just take a hiatus, my boss got panicky and tossed himself into early retirement with no fanfare. He even told me, “Go on Unemployment, as there will be NO jobs out there for you.” Wow thanks, sir.
However…I am a freelance writer, and am working on trying to pick up some jobs, which are thankfully still out there in the cyber world. My husband, a teacher, still has work and we have some money to help keep us going for a bit until we can get out there. I’m also putting together some artwork to get an Etsy site going. I had been wanting to do that for ages, but never had the time, as my job took up a lot of time…days and nights.
I have, as does my oldest daughter, "pre-existing" conditions.
I grew up with very bad asthma which was made worse by living with a grandmother who smoked like a chimney, and a mother who hid her smoking by sneaking into the garage or back bathroom. No, I wasn’t neglected or abused, but our house smelled constantly of cigarettes, something that wasn’t uncommon in the 70s. My daughter has been in the hospital with pneumonia and bronchitis, and had mild asthma.
However…we’re all feeling fine. We are staying safe and healthy. Neither of us has had any problems for a long time, and since my teen had her hospital stay at age 7, she hasn’t missed one day of school since then. She is now a senior.
Speaking of which…
I have a member of the Class of 2020 missing the end of her senior year.
My daughter is in the top 10 percent of her class, and two days after the graduation ceremony was scheduled is her 18th birthday. Family was coming in, to attend, and there was going to a big 1940s birthday/graduation party in the hanger of a vintage air museum where my husband volunteers. It was going to be lit. We were all looking forward to it.
We also promised her since grade school if she keeps her grades up, and stays out of trouble, her big graduation gift would be a trip. Originally planned on London, but we long learned we couldn’t afford that, so it morphed into Florida to EPCOT and Universal’s Harry Potter Wizard World (hey, there’s British stuff there). That fell through as well, but her being such a great sport said she wanted her trip to be a weird journey to Las Vegas to the Mob Museum, and the new Meow Wolf at Area 15 (if and when it opens), the to Zion and Evermore Park in Utah, along with some other quirky areas. I have weird kids and l love them for that.
To make matters worse, one week after graduation was her senior recital in ballet. She would have been performing her senior solo (she had been looking forward to since she was 5), and landed a principal role of the villain (Captain Hook) in the main production. She was having the time of her life, and going to have a great summer before college.
No graduation ceremony. Recital and party has been postponed for now. The trip, well, I hope it happens. We all need an escape.
My youngest was getting ready to “graduate” from elementary, and pretty sad she doesn’t get to go on the “Fifth Grade” class field trip, the “Accelerated reader” trip hosted by the library, or her choir trip to perform at a local amusement park. She was also working hard on a class project, which is now gathering dust in the deserted classroom.
However, all these fallen plans mean I have a couple of hard-working, smart and awesome kids who are definitely not going to fail school. My senior is already scheduling her college classes for the fall, and going through online-orientation. Both my girls are learning their recital routines in online ballet classes.
They will get through this, move on, and have a chance at making the future a better place. They also have a home life that isn’t filled with abuse, poverty, or other at-risk factors. Not every kid is so lucky.
Both my husband and I have parents who are well into the high percentage rate for risk, and both live alone.
My mother-in-law is recently widowed, and has back and hip troubles. My father has survived two bouts of cancer, and had four surgeries in the past ten years for his back and hips. We worry and pray for their safety every day.
However...they are both mentally and emotionally well, live in nice homes they worked hard all their lives to have, and they can both drive themselves. According to my mother-in-law, her biggest problem is she is feeling guilty for “doing so well” at this time. She can watch her favorite movies, cook what she wants and enjoy her garden. My dad’s biggest complaint is boredom, but he has discovered how much he enjoys fixing up his garden. They aren’t bedridden, don’t live in a senior home, and are able to connect with us on a regular basis. I can honestly say, at least right now, no one in my family and friend circle has tested positive for COVID-19.
That is a blessing.
Now, here’s the weird, nit-picky statistic I consider “first world problems:”
I’m one of these lucky April babies who got to experience a birthday in quarantine. I never have big celebrations, but it is always fun to be the one to pick the restaurant, movie or way-too-expensive coffee.
However, I’m now a 51-year-old who didn’t have mega birthday plans anyways. There are some kids I’ve seen who had to have birthday parties and outings scrapped as a part of this. These kids are the ones I feel bad for. I have seen some great things from parents and friends, hosting “drive-by” birthdays and where friends and family drive by with signs, songs or presents for the birthday kid. That is awesome. I’ve also seen many parents re-discovering their cake baking and decorating skills. Results have been, well, varied, but the kids love it anyways.
People are more creative and resourceful than they realize. This has been a time when they are discovering that fact.
I now realize we are NOT all in this together. We are all in this…apart. We all get to be part of that statistic.
For this reason, I hope not to take for granted the next time I can actually see friends and family without the help of Zoom or some other type of video chat. While I said I don’t recommend making a list of all the negative and “statistics” we fit into during this time, I do recommend making a list of all the things we hope to get back to. Things like:
• Sitting across the table from someone in restaurant, having a burger or enjoying a cup of coffee.
• Seeing a live band, even a local musician, at a small venue, and realizing talent can be found everywhere.
• Going to a bookstore or library when you don’t have anything you need to buy…just to wander the aisles and look.
• Playing a pub (or Geeks Who Drink) quiz with some friends, and give our team a stupid-yet-pithy name, like “Snake Clowns.”
• Not just being able to tell you kids “we will get through this” but actually show them, by taking them to a movie or playground.
Let’s make a point to do those things, or whatever little thing you miss. I know I’m a statistic in many ways, but that doesn’t matter. I will remedy what I can, when I can and if I can.
There are those who have it much, much, much worse than me, and I’m glad to be part of at least one statistic not everybody can. I’m born in a country where I can gripe about my leaders, my lot in life, and my situation, but that I can also endure.
To everyone who has ever read one of my silly posts on this site, has tried one of my DIYS on other sites, or has taken the time to share something others of I have created, thank you! You are one of the reasons I endure and I am forever grateful.
God bless you all.
Header image: Lisa Tate