Jackie Tarpinian, a friend and fellow traveler, sent a wonderful written work on what she calls “The Great Pause.”

When she sent this to me, she had been isolating herself for more than three weeks.

A beautiful woman with a traveler’s curiosity and love for others, she chose early on to be safe and connect to the “outer world” via cell or computer. She has maintained her safety.

This is her take on the COVID-19 pandemic, written and sent the second week of April. It applies today.

“Times in History: Civil War; Industrial Revolution; The Stock Market Crash; WWI; The Depression; WWII; 9/11; Blizzard of ‘66 if you live in the Dakotas; Recessions; and now....The Pause. Yes, that is what they are calling this time of the Coronavirus Pandemic, The Pause. Think about it - when a person has a heart attack, he/she stops doing what was a normal routine, and there is a pause in his/her life as well as the rest of the family. When there is an accident, a fire, a tornado, a hurricane, an earthquake, an eruption, there is a pause in the lives of the people involved before they get back to what they were doing but the routine will be different. Sometimes we are forced to take a pause in our life, much like putting a video on pause and then come back to it.

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“2020: the Year of the Great Pause: how are each of us going to go back to where we left off? For one thing, it will be different. We realize we are vulnerable and susceptible to life around us. We need to return with balance - balance in our routine, less social media and more family life; balance in our finances-more of some things, less of others. Putting each pay increase away if you have managed to live on what you made before.

“Balance in our spiritual life - share part of what we have in resources and money, time, talents, and spending more time with a higher power so that we are given the peace and energy one needs in these stressful times. Balance in how we spend our free time and pick up an old hobby that has been neglected...and why was it neglected? Because we have been running a rat race....squeezing in so much into every day, we can’t even put the phone down and visit with our children in the car, or at a restaurant.

“Yes, balance in our volunteer time too. Some do too much. Others do nothing. Everyone needs to give some time to their church or community, or visiting the shut-ins or time with a friend in distress, but one does not need to say yes to everything.

“2020… the Year of THE PAUSE … is here. We need to think how we might do things differently when we get back to a new normal. We have so many time-saving devices in our homes, but we often don’t even have time to use them. We now have time to think how we are going to do things in a different way.”

Jackie Tarpinian wrote this on her 23rd day of isolation. As we continue through social distancing, we frequently wonder what will happen next, and what will life look like once we have vaccines. Will we put away face masks and hand sanitizers? Trying your hand at writing down how you feel will help balance fears with plans. Everyone has different memories. As we used to say in the ‘60s, “we all have our own bag of rocks.” (Meaning, experiences that we each bring to any situation).

What she wrote was uplifting: positive, reflective and historic. We are living in an historic time and each person has an individual take on how to react to businesses reopening and what we have been through during the last several months. Because it’s different for everyone, it is a start on your own autobiography during "the Great Pause” of 2020.

If anyone has anything for this column, please send it to Sharon Cox, PO Box 1559, Jamestown, ND 58402-1559.