The Doldrums of Waiting
The doldrums: I first learned this term while reading a children’s book with my son of “true stories” about pirates. I learned most pirates who wore a patch did so not because they had lost an eye but to keep one eye acclimated to light and one to dark depending if they needed to be on deck or below deck. I thought that was a good metaphor to living life but the term doldrums really struck me.
The doldrums is technically an area in the sea near the equator where the wind doesn’t blow much and the currents are mostly still. A ship getting stuck in the doldrums could struggle for hundreds of miles, while running out of provisions, time, etc.
This time of quarantine, COVID-19, coronavirus, whatever is going on, feels like the doldrums. We feel stuck. And tired. And stale. And relationships are struggling. And any anxiety or anger or sadness we had before has intensified under the strain and the unknown. We don’t know how much longer, when will it end, are we really safe/in danger? It is a real struggle.
So what do we do in the doldrums? Like a sailor (or pirate, matey), we need to be sure we packed our sails. And we need to know when to raise the sails as well. Regarding this life, ways to raise our sails could be focusing on physical health, maybe home renovations, keeping the kids fed and entertained, a long drive somewhere or nowhere, whatever floats your boat (pardon the pun).
A ship stuck on the doldrums at sea doesn’t just do nothing. They do something. They figure out what works with the limitations they are faced. So if you feel stuck, you probably are. Maybe it is time to shake it up a bit or buckle down and dig in or maybe just cut your own hair.