• Michael Gallaugher

Groundhog Day

The struggle is real.

If you’re at all like me, by now you’ve gone through several emotional cycles related to the COVID-19 quarantine. At first, at times it seemed fun: look at all of the extra time we have to do things that we’ve never been able to do before! But now in week 7 with grey overcast Ohio skies, it’s difficult to not feel depression trying to creep in at times.

I’ve maintained my routines as well as I can. I get up an hour before I start work and typically do some sort of exercise as well as spend time in prayer. Often there are a few hours of silence to myself before the rest of the family begins waking up. However, beyond these routines I think I’m missing the regular routine. The one where you would go to work and then leave and come home and have evenings and weekends free to fill with whatever you like - time with friends, with church, with getting a beer or seeing a movie or fill in the blank.

In many ways, every day is the same. It’s groundhog day. And in this version of groundhog day, it’s hard not to let the monotony drag you down. Even with regular routines it’s hard not to get pulled into feelings like this state we’re in is never going to end.

A caveat: I realize this could be far worse. I realize that my ‘struggle’ comes from a state of privilege and I’m thankful that in the midst of this my job has been secure. At worst for me, there is this new normal where all these feelings can set in. Quarantine is a bit like a pressure cooker just adding pressure to the people and situations that you are sharing your quarantine with. With this new normal, we know it likely won’t be forever but it will be for awhile. Our ordinary way of doing life will likely be different for at least the next year until a vaccine is developed.

So what do we do? How do we make lemonade out of these lemons?

I suppose we’re all going through a collective withdrawal. We’ve been used to doing things a certain way and now we’re not. We don’t feel as productive as we used to feel. The usual watermarks of determining how we are doing are no longer there. We’re in this weird limbo time that we have to continue to come to accept again and again and again. Groundhog day. How we choose to show up will affect everything.

The past few years I’ve spent the month of November practicing gratitude every day. With November still 6 months away, and the midst of our COVID-19 quarantine limbo, I’ve decided to spend the next month practicing gratitude for the month of May. I feel like it will help get me out of this funk, take my gaze off my navel, and place it on higher things. I want to focus on what I do have, rather than what I have not. I want to be thankful for the little things, instead of wondering when this will be over. I want to use my time productively, to at least be able to help change myself and my perspective, since there’s not much else I can do right now.

So, I invite you to follow along over at instagram. Send me a follow request if you don’t already follow me. Each day I’m going to focus on something I’m thankful for, and choose to be thankful over letting my quarantine affect my focus. I invite you to practice gratitude along with me.

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