Friday, March 20, 2020

Staying Put

It may not seem bad to have to work from a home office—after all, my family already has been doing that, every day. But when someone says we have to stay put in that one location, it starts being another matter.

The fourth day of this stay-at-home week started dragging, but nothing as drastic as the feeling when, after the close of the workday, the governor issued an executive order which basically said, "Stay home."

So much for advanced notice. I suppose I should have gotten a clue. Still, after all the scrambling on behalf of our business, it seems we are in a good position. At least we are not in solitary confinement. Yet.

So what does one do when forced faced with something that was not on our regular schedule? I know some people pull out their knitting. Or binge-watch Netflix. I hardly hear anyone talking about reading a book—not even those book lovers who always have a stack waiting in the wings. And, unbelievably, I'm about to discover how simpatico I've become with a sentiment like that. Who can concentrate with so much uncertainty swirling around over our heads?

Last night, I found myself mindlessly re-arranging the deck chairs on my family tree. Yes, I know, you just shot back a volley of question marks about that statement. What I mean is that, like some people find knitting in the midst of crisis, I often see maintenance on my family trees to be a relaxing diversion. I take a spin through the entire pedigree chart, cleaning up sections where additional hints cry for my attention, adding new generations or recently-added digitized documents to support the skeletal outline of my tree.

I got started on that jag when I realized I hadn't checked my DNA matches lately—and discovered there were some promising links on my paternal side. I hadn't revisited that tree in quite a while. One thing led to another, and soon I was adding details on several branches of my paternal grandmother's line. And that's a good thing; I haven't worked on that side for quite a while.

Perhaps that isn't exactly your idea of a relaxing diversion in the face of breaking news exploding all around us. You may have better suggestions. I suppose the main reason I've always continued work on my family trees is because I like doing that sort of pursuit. Yet, just as much as it relieves my stress, it may induce yours.

Meanwhile, for others, the workload continues. Responsibilities keep piling up. Children must be cared for, and older relatives checked for well-being. Somehow, the surreal atmosphere at the nexus of daily routine and blown-out-of-proportion hype makes it hard to see the reality of what we each must do next. It can be a very paralyzing thought juggernaut.

In the midst of that swirling disorientation, it was so helpful to see the recent blog post at MyHeritage, which simply was a stack of photographs of staff members' new digs as they worked from home. Somehow, sharing the mundane details of how each of us is adjusting to the new situation has a calming effect, passing around a sense of how we all can get around this roadblock of life. 

Whatever works for you, as you maintain your "social distance" in relative isolation from family and friends—let alone the world outside—I hope you find a way to build a haven of peace in the midst of the shelter where you're placed.

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