A COVID-induced conversation with myself you may find helpful
Happy Friday Pausers! Or whatever day it is in your world right now. I’m going to hop right to it this time. Let’s do this!
In the past week I was asked the same question from several online communities I’m part of: “What do you miss most?” To my surprise and frustration, nothing came to mind. Such a basic conversation starter yielded no response from me, Mr. Chatty-Pants.
Why is that?
I continue to ask this of myself for two reasons:
- As a lover of conversation more eager than ever to engage, I don’t understand my reluctance to respond.
- I’m intrigued more by this question I’m asking myself than the question asked of me in the first place.
So it begins, my weekly pause. Where I dig deeper into something that merits the effort, in search of the nugget that inspires a post.
First, let’s revisit the question: It’s Week 6 of COVID-19 isolation with no sign of a foreseeable end. The question What do I miss most? seems to leave me at a loss. My initial reaction is, “that’s a good question, I can answer this.” Then, when I start to think about alI the possible answers, I seem to get stuck, coming out with the same boring and seemingly unauthentic answer: “Nothing, really”.
I find my response absurd. Here I sit, having lost access to so many ‘non-essentials’ in my day-to-day life and my answer is Nothing, really?? I don’t believe that because Mother Teresa I am not. Then my own questions to myself begin to surface. Remember I’m a strategy guy so asking ‘why’ is my jam…
Why don’t I accept my answer?
Is it because it reeks of Christmas and Fathers Days gone by? When asked what I want as my gift, I dutifully reply “Nothing”. It’s not like I mean it, but we all know it’s what is expected from a nice guy like me. Or do I do this to avoid disappointment if they don’t comply? Or is it because it ensures a surprise-and-delight reaction I look forward to most as both a giver and a receiver?
Nah. I don’t think so. There’s no expectation of reciprocation in this case. It’s not like if I share what I do miss, that I expect it to magically appear after I rub my belly three times and tap my nose. Neither of these scenarios seem to apply in this case.
Could my lame answer be more related to the question feeling like a loaded one? You know, give me some context so I give the ‘right’ answer. Is there a right answer? Is there a wrong one? Will I be judged based on my response? Possibly… but I’m gonna stop this here. It’s going nowhere fast. C’mon wheels, let’s get back on the rails.
Here’s a thought. Maybe it’s one of those questions you try to turn on its head to seem less daunting. “What don’t I miss?” Hmmm. Lemme think about that for a minute…
… it’s 60 seconds later and an EVEN-MORE-LAME response comes to mind: “I don’t know.”
Are you kidding me? “I dont know”? Lamest. Answer. Ever. What’s wrong with me? I actually feel my heart racing in frustration right now. This is ridiculous.
I need to pause and try looking at this another way. I’m gonna try that inner-dialogue thing I do:
- Wise Me: Is there a time I would have found it easier to have a quick answer to this question?
- Me: Yes.
- Wise Me: When?
- Me: Anytime other than now, five (or is this six?) weeks in self-imposed isolation.
- Wise Me: Good, a concrete answer. Let’s keep going. Would you have been able to answer “What do you miss most?” after, say, one week of isolation?
- Me: Yes.
- Wise Me: What would your answer have been?
- Me: That’s easy. Going to the Gym almost every morning and grabbing my Starbucks coffee on the way home to start my work day.
- Wise Me: Ok, and your answer is different now, five weeks later?
- Me: Yes.
- Wise Me: How so?
- Me: I’ve had to adapt and move forward. I’m not going to stop doing things I enjoy indefinitely because circumstances change. Especially when I have more time than ever to do them. I found ways that serve me almost as well (in some cases, even better)
- Wise Me: Like what?
- Me: I figured out resourceful ways to work out at home, and at least the coffee I brew myself is still from Starbucks.
- Wise Me: Wow, that’s impressive. Well done.
- Me: Not really. If finding a new place to workout or getting a fancy coffee every day are my biggest struggles, I have ZERO complaints. I’m thankful that my circumstances allow me to adapt so easily and would rather make the conversation about others who aren’t so blessed…
Boom. There it is.
I get it now. Thinking about what I miss is a waste of time, for me and for anyone who’ll listen. My motivation to answer is lacking because I see no benefit in doing so. Engaging would only start the wheels spinning… finding things to complain about and making them real by sharing with others. Only to pass the baton to the next unfortunate soul.
I leave you with this little nugget, Pausers:
- Having adapted to many of the challenges self-isolation presents, I ask myself instead:
- “What will I miss most about this time once things get back to whatever the new normal is?”
- I predict my response will go something like this:
I miss the time I had with my wife and children. I miss the almost-nightly Zoom and Facetime calls with so many people I love near and far. I miss sitting down to a delicious homemade dinner with my top-4 peeps every single night”.
I will cherish this time ALWAYS. (Oh crap. I’m getting verklempt.)
Mr. Chatty-Pants is BACK, baby!
SP Wiseguy OUT!
Pausers: What will you miss most about this time once things get back to whatever the new normal is? Please share below. I look forward to your comments.