Broken Patterns, Craving Normalcy

Broken Patterns & Rituals/Broken Spirits

Upheaval due to the shattering of personal and shared experiences is taking a toll on our resilience and resolve, leaving many of us running on empty. I’m sharing this personal journey to inspire readers with fortitude to cope with cravings for normalcy and routines we are sorely missing.

I never imagined an RV would be my transportation of choice for a trip to California to welcome a new grandchild. Yet we will be traveling from Minneapolis to LA in a mobile bubble to create the least amount of risk and avoid a two-week quarantine and COVID-19 test (with possible delayed results) upon our arrival. 

Despite our decision and RV rental agreement, I can’t seem to part with lingering angst. My husband Dan and I are putting our 38-year marriage to yet another test. His idea of camping is a “basic” hotel vs. my simpler version of a tent and campfire. Thinking about “pull through” vs “back in” spots in a campground and emptying the sewage tank has never crossed either of our minds. So we’re chalking up this RV trip to our growing list of broken patterns—one that will hopefully provide some humor along the way. (Stay tuned for travel blogs of our journey.) 

In preparation for this new experience, I created an extensive checklist that included picking up a “snoo” (today’s bassinet with techie bells and whistles) from one of my daughter’s friends (Kudos to Gen Y’s pension for the shared economy). Standing in a driveway, 6+ feet apart, we caught up. When I asked how she was doing, this woman admitted on the verge of tears, “I am running on empty. It’s hard to keep it all together.”

Struggling as a Community

I find some level of comfort in reminding myself that most of humanity must have felt this way at different points during these last six months: 

  • Hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans feel empty without the Great MN Get Together and other popular festivals, concerts and gatherings.
  • Teachers and school administrators around the country have worked tirelessly to develop the best plan for safely educating children. Each decision—in school, hybrid, or full distance—presents some form of angst for parents, students, teachers and administrators.
  • Several business leaders in my network created plans to bring their teams back to the office, seeking water cooler conversations, camaraderie, and creative benefits that live interaction promotes. All provided a continued work-from-home (WFH) option. For the most part, their offices have remained empty. Barriers to business as usual, such as lack of childcare and fear of exposure to someone with COVID at the office, seem to prevail. 

Until We Return

It will likely be a while longer before any of our broken patterns and lost rituals will return and when they do, they are likely to look different. We will need to continue using our fast-thinking skills, which will continue to create fatigue. 

As business leaders, we need to address these issues before they get even more unwieldy. Most people have done an amazing job responding to the crisis, retooling how work gets done, moving to working virtually and many with children in the background. With Adrenaline as our fuel, we’ve been in fight mode for too long, wearing us down, fraying our nerves, and sapping our energy. 

We need to continue caring for each other from the top-down, the bottom-up and side-to-side. 

Patience, communication, and tools to help you adapt and thrive are your best friends.

Looking ahead to when we’ve curtailed this pandemic, let me know what patterns and rituals are at the top of your list to restore. I would love to hear from you. 

As you stay the course, continue to be safe and be well.