IAmNotBritish, episode thirty
Happy Brunch Sunday! Let's raise our mimosas or mugs and clink a cheers to a bit of connection between work, notices and ads in our inbox. Written with a London accent in my head. Reading with an accent is completely your (next best) decision.
Definitely a mug this morning. My complete hope is that you are all well.
Let's talk structures, formats, and scaffolding of our lives. Back to the classroom...or not.
Our family rolls on semesters. (Yes: separated, but still a family.) Gregorian, for sure, obviously, but in perfect little 16-week chunks, with designated breaks after pushing The Sixteen. We work hard, then we get a pause.
It sure beats working holidays and weekends--if you can get through the PhD process.
Our Aspie college student continues his classes into the summer, because breaking routine is painful. Summer fills in 8-week spurts, but is still designed with a break between performance bubbles.
Covid came for us during week 10 of the semester, during our Spring Break. Steve returned from Norway, visiting three international airports, and started our family quarantine March 12-26. His university and all public schools were shut down that week. He taught online for the remainder of the semester.
Summer2020 for us included no trips by plane or car and no visits from family or friends. Boohoo. We entertained ourselves on these two floors, in these four walls, in our backyard pool, with two TVs, four laptops, an iPad and four phones. We all knew that life in quarantine could have been much more isolating and less bearable, for sure.
Tomorrow starts another 16-week pocket. It is this family's second full semester of covid life.
In the world of universities, both this Fall's semester and January 2021's semester (some call it Winter, some Spring) will be socially distant, with no face-to-face office hours. Professors will work from home if they can.
Move-In Week is the week before The Sixteen starts, and already, universities are clashing with old norms and new virus guidelines. House parties and dorm buildings where proximity to others is measured in inches instead of 6 feet, are causing university leaders and professors to enter betting pools on when all classes will be virtual this fall. The majority are wagering that as soon as tuition is no longer refundable, online will begin and doors will be shut.
It's a conundrum here in Florida, where state university salaries are paid by tourism cash--which was greatly reduced this summer. Add to that, the state budget being allocated toward masks and testing because at one point the federal government wouldn't help. They've got to pay the professors, the building maintenance and provide testing and masks to students--the universities need the tuition money to function.
Conversely, students already pay 213% more than they did when I was of college-age, and they are not getting the same education they expected from the treadmill they started back in kindergarten.
All of that drama aside, which does not apply to all, and may not directly apply to me going forward... many of you have begun K-12 scenarios. How's that going? LOL.
Looking ahead then for this semester, at our life syllabus, what do you imagine happening or not happening? Do you have expectations that covid distancing will cease? Do you expect a C-19 vaccine in these 4 months?
I expect to have more thoughts about being separated and having to work through them.
I expect a fall season, even in Florida. (There are two "fall" seasons of leaf-dropping and warm temps, until it cools off in November. Or maybe December.)
Holidays will be anticipated and pass.
I expect that there will be a local, state and national election. I expect there will be winners and non-winners. I expect candidates with money may have a better chance at winning, but I am open to the surprise if that is not the case.
We can have expectations for the next 16, and be both disappointed and accepting of reality. We can do both.
We may be happier if we do both.
So, life is going to happen.
What about fear? Do you have fear for the future? (Do I?)
Fear for what has not yet happened is tied to your belief of how you will handle it.
Read that again.
If you think you cannot not handle a death, a break up, a political calamity, a double hurricane projected to hit the gulf in the next 48 hours, then you will fear the unknown. You will have fear for the future.
If you know--what's the word for this?--that no matter what happens, you will be okay, and figure it out and continue to move forward, you have nothing to fear. I think the trendy word is grit, but I really love bouncebackability. It's fun to say. It exists; I looked it up.
Back in the day, during the Cuban Missile crisis, Florida elementary kids complied with missile drills by sitting under their desks when an alarm sounded. Today, K-12 kids have shooting drills. The purpose of the drills is to prepare the brain with a doable action in the face of a life-threatening emergency. Will it save your life? In the case of the missile, no, maybe not. Does it teach fear to little children? Or does it acclimate them to be low-level afraid every day?
Are we as adults low-level afraid during our days? Afraid of covid? Afraid your spouse will leave you, or your parents will split?
Afraid of being wrong?
Afraid of political leaders?
Afraid of men?
Maybe the reality of things lies between the extremes that are presented to us as fact.
Read that again.
Can the extremes happen in your life? Yes. But the majority of our days lies somewhere in the middle of the bell curve.
Today's Deep Breath: Here's a practical juju nugget, a collective Next Best Decision.)
I recently made a list of all the things that I have handled.
I handled them because I am still here, and in some cases I handled them like a boss.
For each "challenge" (or endangering event) on the list, I tried to see if there was anything good that came afterwards. If you've read my book, you know--it did. Not all the time, but many hard things led to bigger, brighter perspectives or events.
Maybe this has made me delusional, expecting the best around every corner.
What if I am around that corner?
What if that's all I need, is myself?
Recently, I was talking with a friend about General Consciousness. If I feel fear, and someone else senses my fear, they in turn have their own reaction to it. We are energetically all connected to each other.
Michelle Obama, a human, woman, mother, recently talked about portraying hope for the future to all of our children. She was asked if she had any.
Her eyes were glossy, but her words were strong as she defended this desire for all adults to show their children that they are hopeful, so the children can have hope for their own lives. For their own futures, when we are gone.
It matters, what we do, to process our own feelings for the betterment of the future.
By being the best version of ourselves, we enable them to become more.
Until next time,