Since this pandemic has taken over our lives I've been focused on keeping this little soap business going. I've been thinking of how to stay connected with my community, make a difference, stay positive, stay active, be engaged, keep up momentum.
I've worried about how to keep my kids stay connected with friends, having video calls with parents, co-workers, customers, planning activities. My effing phone is beeping nonstop from emails, FB messages, Instagram DM's and text.
If someone reaches out to support my business I'm obligated to say yes or I'll look ungrateful and my business will fail. If I want to be a good parent I need to plan virtual play dates. No one explicitly says these things, but it feels like an unspoken social contract we've all accidentally signed up for.
I get up each day with to do lists. Each obligation, perceived expectation and "should" feels like a layer of clothing, dragging me down as I tread deeper into the rushing river of life. Most days I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water.
But today is different. Today John Prine is gone. And his absence feels huge, and his words fill my brain and heart. John was known for calling bullshit on unspoken social expectations. He told us to:
Today I'm imagining what John Prine would have me do if I was a character in one of his stories. Maybe he'd tell me to take my babies outside and leave my phone inside. To feel the sun on my face and listen to time pass slowly. To take off those heavy layers of expectation, and put on my roller skates. To plan less and giggle more.
I know grief makes you see the world with a unique type of clarity. I know I don't live in a John Prine song, and eventually life will go back to normal. That's the heartbreaking and lovely things about being human. But for right now I'm going to take the advice of John and treat the days like one of his songs...