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  • Kristen Kehoe

The Next Right Thing.

March many of you, this was the last day I went to work, the last day my daughter got to go to school, the last day I got up at my normal time, took the dog for a run, and wondered fleetingly if Spring Break was ever going to get here.

I pondered that above ellipses for some time this morning while writing this, mostly because it seems so dramatic. Ultimately, I left it there because, well, we're quarantined as a nation (except for those few assholes who still don't believe in things like science and the good of the whole), and if there's ever a time that my drama is allowed to be here, it's this one.

I'm a teacher, and since quarantine has progressed, I've found myself increasingly agitated. I am not a private school teacher--we are not allowed to begin teaching digitally until all students who are served at the brick and mortar school are able to be served at the digital level as well. Anyone else in the public school system in Oregon will understand how complicated that decree is, because the range of students we teach is rather unfathomable at times. This is not a complaint, but a statement. Students from all levels of intellect, all levels of social abilities, physical abilities, and cognitive abilities, students from all socio-economic backgrounds are educated in the same classroom, adhering and adjusting the lesson to their needs, and now...we aren't. And I don't know when we will. And while I'm working hard on being grateful every day all day for my health, my family's health, my friends' health, my home, my job, and my paycheck, I'm also very lost. A friend said it best last night when she wrote that we are all sitting around "constantly wavering between utter boredom and panic." Yes, exactly this.

I don't know how many of you feel this way--like one minute you want to wrap your family close and tell them how much you love them, and the next you wonder why your dream home of multiple levels and rooms seems like a fucking box, and you want to run away from everyone with a pair of noise cancelling headphones on...but I'm feeling like this. And it's not really because of my family--it's because I, like many of you, am living in the unknown right now, and it's not someplace I visit often.

Which brings us to Frozen II, and how it changed my life last night. I'm still anxious at the constant waiting, the knowledge that we have a little over four weeks until we are scheduled to return to life, and the constant rumors floating around of whether or not that date is a real timeline, but last night, while trying to take hold and find that love and gratitude, we sat down to watch Frozen II with Liv. I don't know what I expected, but in those first few moments, when Arendelle is crumbling, and a great unknown from the forest is kicking the residents out of their town and scaring them, Grand Pabbie looks to the future and sees only the past, the wrongs committed, and nothing else. And he tells them, "When one can see no future, all one can do is the next right thing."

Jan and I looked at each other like it was scripted, and we realized this was our mantra for the foreseeable future. Go, and do the next right thing.

This week, on our spring break in quarantine, that's going to be sidewalk chalk until the rain, bike riding, and games. We are going to think less about work and what will happen, and more about what we can do right now to be in this moment. And I know I will fail at this--I'm a born worrier. Living in the moment is difficult for someone like me when the moment so often shows me what could be and what might be and what should be. But I'm going to keep trying, because I have been stripped of a lot of control lately, but this, being in the moment and being that source of positive energy, is something I can do.

To all of my fellow quarantimers (thank you, Bri, for the meme and the vocabulary), I hope you are well, that your loved ones are safe, and that you are able to do the next right thing for you, whatever it is...unless you're ignoring physical distance rules and flipping people off while they try to cut the spread of germs and cure this virus. Being an asshole is hardly ever the next right thing. FYI.



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