It’s almost impossible to know how to respond to the world right now.
I was doing fine, I really was, until the first time I went food shopping and saw the gaping empty shelves. I started to cry (just a little) on the checkout line.
I am not one to cry in public, but there I was.
Amidst the social distancing and the panic shopping and the worrying about the future, what can we do to keep mentally healthy?
I’m stepping back from social media quite a bit, and that helps. On Twitter, you’ll see I’m retweeting lots of images of cute animals. Penguins hopping up and down stairs may be what saves me, so maybe it will save you, too.
But what I really want to do, what I am itching to do, what I can’t wait to do during my spring break, is paint a room.
We’ve moved my oldest into a bedroom in the basement (not as dreary as it sounds; it gets more sun than their north-facing bedroom upstairs) and I’m going to take over their old bedroom as an office. A place for me to work and write, with a desk and a comfy chair and all my books and my art… I cannot wait.
But first, paint.
Because, of course, right now it is painted some awful colors, as a teen’s bedroom should be. And I’ve chosen a glorious, mellow, twilight purple-grey called Ashberry. It looks kind of like this:
I CANNOT WAIT.
The other reason I can’t wait, though, has nothing to do with having my own office. The other reason is that painting is a series of delineated, focused tasks with a single outcome. Each simple, clear step — clean and prep, primer, trim, walls — must be completed before you can start the next one. And at the end — and there is an end — you have a beautiful transformation, a result that you can be proud of.
Tell me, is there anything else in life right now that feels like that?
I start tomorrow.