Seems like I have been doing lots of pivoting lately. I am reacting to the difference between what I expect to happen and what actually shows up. Yesterday morning was a good example. I got up early, which is not my best time of the day, and zoomed over to Costco with the idea of being able to breeze right in as a Senior. Ummm, not happening. I have never seen a longer line, not at an airport, not even at Disneyland. I began to try and find the end of the snaking line of humans and then chose to pivot! I got in my car, went to Freddy’s (a local chain supermarket) and actually found toilet paper, gluten-free bread, and chicken thighs. The majority of my list was handled and I was actually in a good mood for the victory of having saved myself from an unpleasant wait.
Let’s dive a bit deeper into this pivot idea. We, as humans, are mostly creatures of habit and these days it feels like even the most basic of activities are disrupted. We can’t gather together. We can’t get a massage. We can’t give or get hugs. We can’t do a myriad of things we are used to doing in our day and to top it off, the information we receive to stay safe changes constantly. Mostly we can’t really wrap our heads around the idea that there is a global pandemic happening right now! It feels like we have all entered an alternate Universe. Personally I’ve been feeling that way since November of 2016, and yet the last couple of years have only been a warm-up for managing change and expectations beyond my wildest dreams.
Recently, I found myself falling into despair over the human race having failed the experiment of figuring out how to get along and be kind to one another. Then, it struck me. We are all in a cauldron of grief and loss! Which means that DABDA is running wild. No, my spell check hasn’t failed me, DABDA is the acronym created by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross to help understand and unravel grief:
- Depression, Anger, Bargaining, Denial, Acceptance — Not necessarily in that order, and often bouncing around all over the place.
I bring this up because once you figure out you are in one, or more of those places, you can then choose to pivot… and do something else.
Can you see how these stages are playing out? The Denial one is pretty evident with people who aren’t keeping social distance. It seems to me the idea that younger people wouldn’t be effected was a good way to grab onto some Bargaining. I myself have been pretty Angry that I can’t exercise the way I did a few weeks ago— Just so you know I found a great pivot for that one. For me, it’s, dancing and singing wildly to songs of my teenage days, thanks to Pandora Radio. I think the mindset of Acceptance is subtle yet consistent, we need to stay home, keep our distance and find new ways to connect.
The big daddy of all of them all is, Depression, and with it comes another acronym, HALT. This one is where all the components line up together to create Depression:
- Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired — When those symptoms pile up, we fall over the edge. It’s one of the reasons I ‘ate’ my own feelings for at least the first week of this!
Checking in with you all to see if perhaps you too have some DABDA or HALT stuff going on? Observing these symptoms can give you the information and tools you need to pivot, then shift and move on to something different. The recognition of these feelings can really pave the road for a good transition out of the tangle of emotions. It will help fortify you for the opportunities to pivot in the weeks still to come.
Take care, stay safe, and be kind to yourself!
Shell Tain, the Untangler