Pulling a print publication together in the time of COVID-19 has proven to be an exercise in creativity and perseverance. We have worked to tell stories and provide information that will be insightful and interesting, and still relevant when it hits mailboxes. Guidance is changing regularly and as of the writing of this note in mid-May, nonessential businesses are still closed and stay-at-home orders remain in place. Fingers crossed that by the time our readers are seeing this, restriction will have started to lift and summer will feel slightly more “normal” than spring did.
About seven years ago, my brother talked me into “getting out of my box” and attending Burning Man with him — a festival of 60,000 people who build a small city in the Nevada dessert for a week-long party meant to celebrate art and music and other things. It was definitely outside of my box. The first two days there I worried about the things that could go horribly wrong at this event, I tried desperately to get cell service so I could see what was happening in the world, to share what I was experiencing. And then, the last three days I settled in and found that I didn’t even think about Facebook or documenting my time there. I no longer felt like I needed to be “doing” something — I was able to sit for hours on the couch at our campsite, watch people and listen to passing conversation, and appreciate music and art that one would not typically come across in Carroll County. I was able to take the event for what it was and came away from it feeling fuller for the experience.
I am feeling something similar about how life has changed as a result of coronavirus. At first, I was freaked out. I was looking everywhere for answers, reading science and medical information, watching news conferences, checking social media — I was overwhelmed by sifting through information. I was sad that my kids were not in school and not playing sports, bummed that they were missing dances and hanging out with their friends. I was stressed about how the economy would survive this hit and the ripple effects it will have for years to come. And then at some point I took a minute to breathe, to try to rise about the chaos and find broader perspective, to assess what was worth losing sleep over.
And I reset. I managed to find peace in it.
I’m not saying I don’t stress. I’m not saying I don’t still have fears. I’m not saying everything is going to be OK, because I know life is changing dramatically for a lot of people. But part of resetting included turning down the noise — I don’t spend nearly as much time on social media and if I do check it, I give myself a time limit. I’m very selective with what news I choose to read and what sources I’ll read, and I don’t watch as many news conferences. What I am trying to do is engage a little more with my kids, to tell myself that there is value in this time at home, to figure out what good we can take with us from this experience.
Granted, there is no large art structure in the shape of a man that festival-goers will burn down at the end of this pandemic, but in the end my hope is that I will arrive on the other side of it no worse for the wear, and maybe even better prepared for whatever lies ahead.
From the entire Carroll Magazine team – please stay safe and be smart. I believe we will get through this together.