Keep Breathing

“I know what I have to do now. I’ve got to keep breathing because tomorrow the sun will rise. Who knows what the tide could bring?”

Tom Hanks’ “Castaway” character was trapped on a deserted island for four years. After his rescue, he found everything had changed. The world he once knew ceased to exist. He hadn’t turned the page, the page was turned for him. He needed time – time to process trauma, time to take another step, time to grieve.

It looks like we’re coming out of the strangest periods of our lives. The pandemic was horrific, both in terms of the human toll and the economic devastation. Sometimes I still can’t believe it all happened. It feels like it was a dream.

I don’t know about you, but I will never be the same.
I didn’t turn the page. The page was turned for me.

I will live the rest of my life differently, especially when it comes to my mental well being. I’m done pretending. I will no longer put on an Oscar-worthy performance every day. It’s too exhausting. When I’m feeling great, I will shout it to the world. And when I feel scared and riddled with so much anxiety that I bite my nails down until my fingers bleed, I will tell people how I feel, and I will ask for patience until the storm clears. Because the storm does clear.

I will take care of myself and get plenty of sleep.
I will love my family.
I will hug my dog.
I will take more time off from work.
I will seek joy in the little things.
and I will listen to my body and the alarms it sounds when something isn’t right.

The pandemic gave us that permission. Before that, it might have been viewed as weakness. I don’t care anymore. Because I know that when I’m healthy and happy I make a difference in the lives around me – my family, my friends, and my co-workers. When I’m right, I’m like a child who giggles as he runs down a hill uncontrollably until his little legs give out and he wipes out.

The pandemic robbed us of so much, but it was also the greatest gift we could have received because now we know exactly what to do: Keep breathing because tomorrow the sun will rise.

Who knows what the tide could bring?