Working Through the Stages

Working Through the Stages

My friends and family can confirm that I’m an action oriented person. I don’t spend much time sitting in contemplation (though I probably should.) I certainly have my contemplative moments, most of them while cultivating the soil.

So when this virus ordeal smacked our area and my employer made the call to close the business, I immediately pivoted to my next move: identifying new mowing customers, seeking out folks who wanted my consulting services and getting really creative in finding ways to cover the lost income.

That response is a result of 15 years of EMS. Identify the problem. Address the problem. Remedy the problem. Feelings later (if at all.)

So while I’m able to take the long view on most things, my focus has been quite direct on securing things in the near-term.

Then I realized today that I’ve actually been working through a sort of delayed grief process. It’s been operating in the background of my mind like an App that drains a phone battery. Generally, folks experience denial, then anger. That’s followed by bargaining and if that doesn’t work, depression can set in. Acceptance is usually the last stage.

I realized further that my grief process is performed out of order and I have skipped the typical first stage of denial and that I actually seemed to move right into the final stage of acceptance.

But ya’ll, today I woke up pissed the hell off.

I shared these thoughts with my wife this morning over coffee.

I was angry at how our society has become so complex that all it takes is a nasty bug to upend our lives. Half of us are out of work and the other half are being worked to death. I’m angry that so much power has been consolidated into the hands of so few. I’m angry with the bloated, impersonal bureaucratic process that decides who is worthy of assistance and who is not. I was angry with a bunch of external crap that’s outside my circle of control and then I was angry at breaking my own damn rule of not being worried over what I cannot control.

It’s a good way to start a Saturday.

Then I set it aside because I had yards to mow, documents to complete and seeds to be started. I wasn’t going to let my anger lead to paralysis.

Midday I logged into a Zoom meeting with a group of folks who are working together to launch or improve side hustles in order to keep the bills paid and our lives moving forward. It was a great meeting, useful and informative. Supportive but also with a backbone of accountability. I was able to receive some input as well as give some suggestions. After the meeting my brain kept working it over. I immediately put out some new feelers and lined up a couple of more jobs.

One of my customers who is also a neighbor and a fine gentleman was telling me today how he rallied his network to gather some funds to help one of his employees (who has been laid off) make rent. This kind of act really reinforces my belief that our best bet for future success lies with our neighbors and friends. I don’t fault anyone who applies for government assistance but when we’re willing to lift each other up and trust each other, that’s the basis for resilience.
My neighbor and I talked further about what may lie ahead, especially from the perspective of those of us in the service industry. We discussed keeping the supply chain short and local. It’s time to use every opportunity to build a relationship.

We’ve got a chance here to build a system that takes the human element into account. I’ve seen so many examples of this going into place already. Folks in my circle are coming together to find creative solutions to meet the needs of businesses and people.

I’m really grateful for the conversations I took part in today. I’m sure I’m still going to wrangle my way through this process but I’m not doing it alone and I know I have to network to call on when needed.

I’ve got some more things in the works that I’ll share as I’m ready.

Ya’ll hang tight. We still do get to make our own luck.