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So that happened

A diary entry

 

Raise your hand if you don’t know what you’re feeling, what’s going on, if you’re doing this right, if you even know what right is, whether to stay still or start something new, help a friend, yet stay away.

Stop. You’re doing great. And on your first try, too.

This is the first and only time in our short lifetime that every single human on the planet, on the planet, all of us, is going through the same situation. We have no frame of reference for how to deal. So whatever you’re doing. Keep doing it.

But how bizarre is that? That every human being right now is dealing with the same physical and mental shut down freak out at the same time. We’ve dealt with war, terrorism, market crashes, internet and social media booms, etc. We’ve seen and experienced a lot as a country and as a world. But this? Nope. This transcends all of that.

If you’re anything like me, perhaps your emotions have run the gamut over the last week or two.

China and Korea went under total lock down. And you thought, wait, what?

Good luck trying to shut us down. We’re gosh darn ‘Mericans and we’ll do what we want.

But then people weren’t allowed to come home. People were stuck on ships. That was confusing.

Cases started spreading yet still, that won’t come to Ohio. No sir.

Okay, it’s in the United States. Let’s not freak out though, shall we?

Oh crap. Is this real?

I feel panicked. Do you feel panicked?

That’s a funny meme. Spot on. Wait a second, what’s going on?

Tom Hanks?!

Wait, that’s closing now? Jerry, it’s okay.

CALM DOWN JERRY.

We watched this unfold from afar until afar was right in our face.

And then.

All the toilet paper in all the land vanished.

Oh and pasta sauce. People have a lot of pasta sauce right now.

Okay but really. The reality was hitting hard and is still hitting harder every single day. And for so many of us it was and is all too much to wrap our heads around.

The schools, the service industry, all fitness and recreation, everything. Done. For now. But the worst part in all this is knowing that yes, it’s only for now. But we aren’t sure how long ‘now’ is.

To go from 100+ mph to 0. The managers, owners, hourly workers, thousands and thousands of us. That sudden stand still is a mental and physical adrenaline-cortisol-spiking-plummeting mess. Or on the other hand, the healthcare workers, pharmacies, grocery stores going from 100+ and getting faster.

This new reality none of us have mentally prepared for. Lay offs. Online schools. Debt. Working from home. With kids. Without kids. Jerry.

Jordan Peterson is a professor at the University of Toronto who wrote a book called the 12 Rules for Life: an Antidote for Chaos. I’ll be 100% honest in that I’m only about halfway through the book, because each chapter is essentially one of his lectures. Which I love and respect, by the way. But it’s dense. (I’ve listed the rules only below).

What has resonated with me about his work since the first time I heard him on Joe Rogan (yes Joe Rogan. This girl and her Joe Rogan podcasts I swear..) are his points about order and chaos.

To sum it up, no matter who you are and what your work situation is now or was a few weeks ago before the mayhem, as a species we need order.

This extremely simple observation helped me understand why I was experiencing such crazy anxiety for the first time in my life. At 26-27 I changed everything in my life and at a time I was personal training and coaching classes, I couldn’t understand why I was so anxious and nervous and internally freaking out all the time.

Working from home, having a flexible schedule sounds great. But when you’ve never really lived it long term, you don’t realize the problems that arise. How do people make it work? They put themselves on a schedule.

Order to the chaos.

One foot in front of the other.

Something we can control when nothing feels in control. Which of course, is way easier said than done. Especially if aren’t sure how you’re going to pay your rent.

Simple concept, not easy to put into action.

So this situation. Whatever your situation is. It’s new and terrifying and it needs some sort of order. Any order. It’s like grief. You really don’t know how on earth you deal with it until it’s happening and it’s real. Well. This is one major shit storm of a world right now and none of us have had to deal with it until right now when it’s happening and it’s real.

So however you’re dealing with it. Posting a zillion stories, cracking jokes, ignoring it, crying, yelling, laughing, writing, binging Netflix or eating all your quarantine snacks. You’re doing great.

The last thing we need is to be mean to each other. We’re all humans and the only thing we can do is keep going. One foot in front of the other. Finding some order, any order in the chaos.

I’ll leave you with this:

I’m not okay. I’m far from okay. I’m extremely grateful for the people in my life and the people that make my life possible. And I know I’m good and will be better than good sooner rather than later. Even if I don’t always feel that. My life has been riding the uncertain, where are we going train for quite some time now. And it’s forcibly accelerated to top speed through all of this. I’m not sure what my future holds. And that unknown, that chaos, is at times overwhelming.

But in ways, I’ve been here before and I know it will all be okay. It will be awesome in fact. Even if right now it hurts and is confusing, it’s toughening us all up for a way stronger and more badass future.

So what am I doing? I’m writing. I’m cooking. I’m moving. I’m laughing and doing all the things that make me, me. I’m yelling at Jerry for being picky about his food. I’m calling and talking to my friends and family. I’m attempting workouts in my basement that looks like a straight up horror movie set.

And I’m thinking to myself, maybe this was inevitable. Not the horrible virus and people getting sick part. Never would anyone wish that. But the idea that just a week or two ago we were all riding so high, so comfortable, having everything a click away, every single option in front of us, buying what we wanted, struggling, not struggling. That something so insanely beyond our mental capacity had to happen to force us to re-evaluate. To be still. And to remember who we are, what we value, and what we now more than ever demand of our lives, ourselves, and our communities.

And to answer your question. That I know you’re all asking. You bet your ass I got ahead of the chaos and ordered TP, paper towels, and some Lysol because guess what. I’m John Lasko’s daughter and if there’s one thing Laskos know and love. It’s stock piling. Screw you y2k.

 

Except gravy. Dad, if you’re reading this, mom does NOT want any more gravy.

Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for Life

  1. Stand up Straight with your shoulders straight
    1. To the point.
  2. Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
    1. We like this. Kindess now more than ever.
  3. Befriend people who want the best for you
    1. Never underestimate the power of who you know and who is rooting for you
    2. 6 feet apart for right now
  4. Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not the useless person you are today
    1. I love how aggressive this is. This is an Emily rule for sure.
  5. Don’t let children do anything that makes you dislike them
    1. Children are already assholes sometimes
  6. Set your house in order before you criticize the world
    1. Have an opinion about what someone else has or doesn’t have? What’s your place look like right now. Clean your dishes and make your bed, lazy.
  7. Pursue what is meaningful, not what is expedient.
    1. We live in a world of hacks and short cuts. How’s that working out for you? More time to chill, less time to actually do something with your life, leaving you feeling lazy anxious or complacent. Pick up a book and play the long game.
  8. Tell the truth. Or at least don’t lie
    1. It’s exhausting putting on an act, no? The world needs authentic people. Be one.
  9. Assume the person you are listening to knows something you don’t
    1. We walk into meetings already rolling our eyes. Sure, maybe the person is an idiot. More often than not I think that idiot is ourselves.
    2. Teach them, or allow them to teach you.
  10. Be precise in your speech
    1. Yes or no. Black or white. Face it head on.
  11. Do not bother children while they are skateboarding.
    1. I love this.
    2. Probably his most controversial rule. Read up on it if you are so inclined.
    3. And let kids play, get dirty, get hurt, and do what little kids are going to do.
  12. Pet a cat when you encounter one in the street
    1. This is a wierd one. So uh. We’re just going to leave it at that.

Comments

  • reply
    Krista conroy

    Thank you for sharing!! I miss you!! Stay healthy!! Krista 🙂

    March 21, 2020
  • reply
    Alison Lukan

    Needed this, loved this. Thanks, Em, buying this book right now.

    March 21, 2020
  • reply
    Margie

    Well said em. My prayer is that we come out of this better people with a clearer perspectiVe on work, relationships and life in general. Love you em. You’re a great encourager. Take your words to heart!

    March 21, 2020
  • reply
    Katlin

    LOve this. Love the rules. Love you!

    March 21, 2020
  • reply
    Sam Basu

    Loved reading this. Keep em comin, Em. ♥️

    March 21, 2020

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