Cave Syndrome: Awareness or AnxietyOur world has changed! Humanity is dealing with a life-threatening disease, symptoms that keep evolving, new ideas to deal with old challenges, and a deep desire to rebuild so we can get back to “normal.â€Cave Syndrome
This week another new symptom has surfaced; it’s called “Cave Syndrome.†It’s the feeling some people experience as they’re reentering the world after being vaccinated. People want to go out, they know they can go out, but they’re hesitant, even though we all want our respective “normal†back.Reentry
What will it take for you to reenter daily life? Can we really go back to a “normal†pre-pandemic life? In addition to everything else, I believe it will take a shift in focus and awareness to reenter daily life again. I’m not talking about meditating to achieve that awareness, although that couldn’t hurt. I’m talking about focusing on the now, being aware of what’s happening around you.Pre-Pandemic Life
Pre-pandemic life was over-the-top-busy. Every person on the planet felt like they were dancing as fast as they could. Between daily life and getting kids to school, sports, and extracurricular activities, we were pooped. Each evening we’d forage through the refrigerator, hoping to produce a meal the kids would eat. As our energy faded, we’d do dishes, bath, bed, and guilt. We’d collapse in bed, and if we were lucky, we could stay awake to watch a show. The pace of pre-pandemic life caused us to disconnect, become numb, and unplug as often as possible.The Pandemic Changed That 
COVID required us to pay attention to the now, or we might miss a detail that was/is crucial. COVID shifted our focus. We opened our eyes and saw things from a new perspective, which caused us to voice our outrage at the inequity and injustice in ourselves, our families, our country, and globally.When something BIG happens, it shifts your perspective and creates a ripple effect that cascades through your life and begins changing how you see and feel about many things. Fork in the Road
The first thing you realize is you’re standing at a fork in the road and have to decide how you’ll look at the changes that have occurred in your life, your family, our nation, and around the globe. You can either focus on the negative details and horror, there’s plenty of that, or you can focus on the blessings that have come out of this. Don’t Hit Delete; let me explain.2020  
The last 14 months have shown us our grit and strength. Sometimes, it was all just too much, and that’s okay. We all had moments when we couldn’t tolerate those we live with, couldn’t do another puzzle, or bake one more thing. We all had moments when we h-a-d to get out of the house and moments when precious family memories were created, too. Kids have had virtually (pun intended) no peer contact, lost celebrations, memories, milestones, and suffered devastating family losses.Choices
While all of that is true—you still have a choice going forward. You can remain focused on pre-pandemic life and the elusive quest to get back to “normal,†or you can embrace the changes the pandemic has caused in all of us and realize we’re facing a new normal. When you embrace the latter, you’re able to see the benefits that have occurred during this pandemic. What b-e-n-e-f-i-t-s, you may ask? Your kids have gotten to know themselves in ways they would never have in a pre-pandemic world. They’ve experienced and understood what genuine cooperation is and what it’s not. They’ve learned how to access internal motivation to do things they don’t want to do but have to do. They’ve learned how to be empathetic towards loved ones and local/global neighbors, and they’ve watched how you’ve handled the devastating news at home and abroad.Your kids have connected more deeply with you and their siblings than ever before. Your kids have figured out how to support one another when times are tough and how to play together to relieve stress (who doesn’t love a good dance party). They’ve learned delayed gratification, what it feels like when someone offends you, what it takes to repair emotional damage, and what each family members’ triggers and touchpoints are. And now, more than ever, it’s apparent what needs to be addressed going forward. All of that is a blessing that creates the learning necessary to be successful in real life.Those are all things that can’t be fully seen unless you shift your focus and take the path, the fork in the road, that allows you to see benefits despite damages. Those life lessons could not have resonated or changed us as profoundly as they have if we’d remained as busy as we were before COVID.If you need help with the kids, Proactive Parenting is here, and it would be my honor to help you navigate these new family dynamics.

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