The World We Live In: Perspective from the grocery store
My anxiousness is high today. It started from the beginning of the day - or should we say week? Heck! I don’t know!
This morning I slept in. I haven’t been wanting to get out of bed lately. The world is different right now. So very different. So very uncertain. The uncertain energy of the world is infiltrating within me. In my own thoughts about myself. But don’t I trust?
Today was the day I’d planned to go to the grocery store. In a normal world, I consider this a mini-retreat.
It's a time for me to get out of my house by myself. I walk into the grocery store, smiling at those headed out the door. I forgot my pen so I grab one from behind the unattended register because and will return it on my way out the door. I select my cart without fear and without even thinking of sanitizing it and walk to get a cup of coffee. I take a nice warm sip followed by a deep breath and gratitude for all of the produce and old banana bags in front of me. The coffee tastes mediocre but feels absolutely amazing. I smile and make my way through the store with ease. Knowing that I just need groceries for this week and I know exactly what I need to provide for my family. As I round to the spice aisle, an old-time song comes over the loudspeaker. I start to sway my hips and dance as if there’s no one at the end of the aisle. There is. And I don’t care. I dance and I sing a little anyway!
I never understood a single word he said but I helped him a-drink-a his wine! And he always had some mighty fine wine!
I make my way to the register. Singin’ JOYYYY to the world!! All the boys and girls yea! I smile and say hello to my favorite cashier. The one that always makes sure I have the right coupons on my phone. I put my groceries in order for her. Cold stuff together, produce together, not-cold stuff together, eggs and bread at the end. It all rings up just as I knew I would. $80 for the family. $20 to Drew because he’s going to want to go to Dollar General for something. Something he didn’t tell me to get. Something he didn’t know he even wanted. And that’s OK. I let it be. It is a beautiful sunny morning as we walk outside and the nice man packs my groceries into the back of my car with care. We exchange smiles and I tell him to have a wonderful day! I drive home as I check in with my mom to see what she’s up to on this beautiful day.
Today’s reality. I put on jeans for the first time in I don't know how long, just to take them off and throw them in the wash and shower as soon as I got home. I did my best to plan for two weeks of groceries because I’m trying to minimize my family’s exposure. Our grocery shopping looks different because everything looks different right now.
I’m overly emotional and I explain to my husband that I KNOW that I’m over-emotional. That my logic KNOWS that I will be ok. That everything is OK. Yet that doesn’t discount the anxiousness that I am feeling. I’m feeling not good enough. Not prepared enough to go to the grocery store. As I type that out - it brings it to a whole new level of ridiculousness. But it is what it is. How much money do we have? Why can’t I just figure out how to NOT go over on our grocery budget? Am I going to get enough food so we don’t have to go to the store for two weeks? Am I going to overspend and get too much food? Will I let any of this food go to waste? I’m not doing it good enough. You’re going to do the best you can, Shannon. And your best is good enough for your family. I tell my husband that I feel like I’m risking my life. Like Katniss Everdeen in the hunger games. Will the store have the things on my list? Will the prices be normal?
I sit in the parking lot and see a patron come out who is wearing gloves and a mask. I walk into the store and say hello to my hometown heroes - the grocery store clerks. Why are they not wearing gloves and a mask? I decide to get my proteins first - but of course, keeping my distance from anyone and everyone around me. I decided to leave my mask in the car. Was I crazy for thinking of wearing one in? I certainly was not because all around me were others wearing them. Some wearing gloves. As we all navigate the grocery store, careful to NOT turn down an aisle that someone else is occupying, we keep our distance. I see a friend. A friend I have not seen forever. We smile, stand 6 feet apart and air-hug. She brings me joy. Happiness. Our short conversation centered around how life has changed for each of us since the pandemic.
I go from one end of the store to the other a couple times over. Did I forget anything? Do I really need that? Fresh broccoli is cheaper than frozen broccoli! Everything will be ok. I get home and have forgotten the broccoli all together. I stare at the candy aisle. I want chocolate. Dark chocolate. What’s going to be SOO GOOD? Why am I looking at the chocolate? Something to give me a high. To make me feel better in the moment. I decide that no chocolate will fix the anxiety I am feeling right now. I leave without chocolate. I should have just stayed in line and not even looked at the chocolate because now the registers are packed. We are all waiting in line 6 feet apart. I let a gentlemen with potatoes and bananas go in front of me. I wait until he has paid and on his way out before emptying my cart onto the conveyer belt. Both of my favorite ladies are working the register and she does remind me about the coupons. That little piece of normal made me very happy. It was weird. It was all... WERID. I am grateful, nonetheless, that I am filling my home with healthy foods so that I can start showing up again. For myself. For my family. For those who need me. To stop fueling my body with sugar and foods that feed my anxiousness, depression and headaches. The store had everything on my list other than a pork butt. I’d say that’s pretty good.
I make my way north toward the highway and decide I’m going to eat ice cream for lunch. Yup. A brownie dough blizzard. It’s delicious.
I swing money by the daycare even though my boys are not going. I am so grateful for my daycare providers. I know they have bills to pay. I know that even though I’m stressed about money, we are in great shape as Drew and I both have paychecks right now. I know that the whole world is in a crisis and we’re all struggling in different ways. One person’s struggle is not better or worse than another’s. Just different. We are all grateful for what we have and genuinely want the best for the world. And right now, it’s hard to decide WHAT is best for the world. We’re all being faced with making decisions that we’ve never ever had to make before. Helping others with situations that we’ve never experienced and doing our best to be there for one another - virtually of course.
I smile as I hear my healthy baby boy babbling on the floor next to me. I take a deep breath. My vibes are lifted.