This last premise isn’t something I learned in 2020 but it did serve me well. In 2003 I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, a diagnosis that wasn’t well understood then and even now is still a mystery in many aspects. Everyone experiences it to different degrees and the symptoms include joint and muscle pain, trouble sleeping, brain fog, fatigue, emotional swings more unpredictable than any roller coaster, and a wide variety of other challenges. The way I feel from hour to hour can change, making it difficult to commit to plans with friends or feeling guilty if I do plan and have to cancel at the last minute because the pain is too bad.
Some mornings I wake up with muscles so tight I can’t stand up straight or turn my head. I’ve learned over the years tricks to ease the tension but there are days when nothing works. I just have to bear it and tell myself, “Tomorrow is a new day”.
As the months passed with no end in sight to the restrictions and regulations put in place due to COVID, I repeated this mantra, often several times a day. I can’t change my circumstances but I can keep them from controlling me. I don’t know that the pain will be better tomorrow, but I can chose to believe it will, therefore I can soldier on through this day. If I’m having a particularly emotional day, I recognize it for what it is, allow the emotion to pour out and believe the morning will bring a renewed outlook. In the same way, when I felt overwhelmed and frustrated with the endless commentary on the virus and watched the economic devastation it had on my friends I forced myself to take a deep breath and remember, tomorrow is a new day.
We have a choice in how we handle every situation we find ourselves in. We can choose to be angry or we can choose to focus on hope. We can allow fear to control us or we can take control and believe there is light and goodness in this world.
While many COVID restrictions remain in place, the world is slowly reopening and I’m hopeful that most will be lifted by mid-summer. I do hope some of the things we learned over the past year will stay with us, though. Spending time with family is precious. It’s okay to not spend sixty hours a week at work. We need social interaction. An act of kindness doesn’t have to be a grand gesture but a simple helping candor even a smile.
Thank you for joining me on this journey of reflection and remember, tomorrow is a new day.