As I closed my work laptop on Friday March 6th for one last time, I had no real idea what would lie ahead for me. I had been so busy tying up loose ends before my last day of work and planning my upcoming travel I knew little about what was happening outside my own little world. Then my birthday outing on the 8th was cancelled wisely by my girlfriends out of fear for the elderly folks they cared for. While at the time it seems to be a slight overreaction to some pandemic threat, I understood and respected their judgement. I packed up the RV for what was to be a short visit to Spokane where I would help care for my grandson for a few weeks while my daughter finished her training and clinicals, meanwhile I started tuning into what was happening in the rest of the world and realized my timing to travel the world might be off… and now, I’m realizing my timing downright SUCKED!
I arrived in Spokane on the March 11th and my oldest daughter joined us for the weekend as well. It was awesome having almost the whole family together! The next thing we knew, most of the world was shutting down and then our entire country was asked to practice social distancing. Within days that request became a state mandate and our lives have been on hold along the rest of the world’s. My oldest made it back to Oregon and started working from home, while my youngest had her clinicals cancelled, later to be approved and started back up, only to be cancelled again just a few hours short of finishing.
I certainly did not think a pandemic would pretty much shutdown the world within only a matter of weeks. I really wanted to slow my life down and take time to enjoy some travel, but NOT LIKE THIS! I think I called it quits just a year or so too early, I mean I already had this remote work thing down to a science! Who would have guessed? Everyone is struggling now to some degree… I have friends closing businesses, others laid off and trying to navigate unemployment, and others trying to figure out these new work or school from home scenarios. Crazy times I never expected to see in my lifetime, but I am still alive! So many others are not as fortunate… It is heartbreaking and puts my travel wants into perspective rather quickly. So far 3 of my 5 major trips have been postponed and I anticipate the 4th to be postponed as well. I am holding out hope that my October trip will be doable but having my doubts as well. I keep telling myself “postponed, NOT cancelled” and some days it helps my disposition while others not so much.
My grandson has been staying home with me and grandpa while his mom works. I was supposed to be relieving grandpa so he could head out on his trip but everything shutdown including campgrounds. What are full-time RV’er to do? Another unintended consequence of the shutdown, but we will make the best of it here, together, very unexpectedly. So here we are with both RVs parked outside the house while we entertain our little human or depending on the situation, he is entertaining us! Lots of walks and bike rides to get us outside but I have seen the movie Cars more times than I care to admit. While my future plans or being reshaped daily, I think back to momma octopus and realize this is only an inconvenience. I am thankful to be here, safe, healthy and in good company. I think I might even get to take a break and go diving for some much-needed bubble therapy next weekend.
I realize this is all new territory and nobody really knows how to best navigate this mess, and we still do not… This is not just a state or U.S. thing, most of the world is in shambles right now. This certainly should not be a political thing but sadly we have made it one. Frankly, some of society’s reactions have been downright sad and embarrassing, yet others have been uplifting, heroic and calm. Can we come together in kindness and not hostility? Can we honor our life’s true needs and forego our wants for a while? I would like to believe our values have not been reduced to hording butt-wipe insight of a crisis. Can we treat one another better despite differing opinions? I fear that until this virus sucks the life out of someone we love and smacks us upside the head directly, we will not be able to fathom the horrible reality others are dealing with right now… it is just too surreal. Will our opinions change then? Will our level of accountability change then? Will life’s needs vs. our wants finally be realized? The future leaves so many unanswered questions.
For now, this life of privilege and comfort has a few inconveniences for the foreseeable future… and for now, we are still alive. Let us make the best of it.
I cannot help but wonder…
Maybe I did not stop working a year too early… maybe I quit a year too late?
I hope not.
Stay safe, healthy and most of all… be kind.
Pamela Treischel is a SCUBA diving enthusiast, underwater photography hobbyist and Ambassador for the Inland Ocean Coalition.