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  • Liz Lucas

One Emergency at a Time


With the stress of my students getting back to the US it was time to focus on how I was going to get where I was going. I finished the job about 6 hours north of where I wanted to end up and I was supposed to get on a flight back to Queenstown OR go commandeer a friend’s vehicle as she tries to get back to the states before the borders shut down. We chose the latter. I did not realize how much nervous energy I had going through my body until I saw Hannah. A simple hug from a friend can make everything momentarily feel better, a sense of safety in the unknown.

We headed to a place to stay for the night. This is when we realized the full extent of what was happening. We were at a crossroad I had to take the vehicle 2 days early in order to meet the NZ deadline to stay out while she had to wait it out and hope her flight was still on in a couple of days. If I take the vehicle and her flight is cancelled then she is really just STUCK, if I don’t take the vehicle then I am STUCK. As we were thinking through all the scenarios Hannah finally says “Liz, one emergency at a time, the current emergency is that if you don’t get to your van you are in trouble.” So, we decided that I needed to drop her at a hotel near the airport and I would drive the 6 hours south to get there. The next emergency was that because of the rules with the shutdown staying in a van was not a great option. . . . luckily Chloe and I had planned to do some van life together anyway and she was already back in Queenstown so she was pounding away on the powerful interwebs for HOURS finding us a room to post up in during the shutdown. Alas, she found us a room for a reasonable price and all that was left was the 6 hour drive the following day.

I spend the last evening enjoying all the comforts of being with Hannah, aka tons of girl talk, laughs and reminiscing before the inevitable separation. This year already we almost died together rafting and now are facing this scary predicament, we are definitely bonded as family after all of this.

The next morning it was time to say goodbye to Hannah, wish her luck and head to Chloe and our room. It was a bit daunting driving away from safety into the unknown toward the next safety zone. That eerie zone of in between hoping to make it to the next bit of safety. Ultimately, I made it without a fuss and even had time to jump start my van and get it where it needed to be, at the temporary rental place. Finally, time to breathe, I am greeted with a huge hug allowing me to finally feel a bit of relief.

Boy, was that event even stressful to write about. Phew, I share it to illustrate Hannah’s statement about “one emergency at a time”. It seems with all the chaos around there is so much that we could be stressing about and maybe are that we can only focus on the current emergency and solve that one before we can move on to the next one. Sometimes it feels like we have to jump up a whole flight of stairs in order to overcome this thing but we forget that there are several stairs that we need to take one at a time in order to successfully make it to the top, otherwise, we waste all of our energy trying to jump to the top of the staircase without success.

As we all navigate the unknown ahead remember to focus on one thing at a time. Only the current emergency can be dealt with now and the next emergency will be dealt with when and if that occurs. We are all more capable than we realize!

Put into practical terms, I (like many others) could be spending a lot of time stressing about not making any money, worrying about not being able to pay rent after the month lock-down, my car registration, concerned about what the world is going to be after all of this. However, I have intentionally chosen to put my energy into my present situation. This is taking care of my body, eating properly, getting exercise, resting in the sun, creating games that I get to con Chloe into playing with me 😊, writing, making meal plans to use all the food that has been given to us by evacuating friends. This is the only thing I can do right now is take care of myself which inevitable prepares me for the next thing that comes up. To protect these intentions, I try to set limitations on how much news I read, I give myself a time limit if I am feeling stressed about the situation.

All of this sounds hunky dory and I add the caveat it is all a work in progress, we are a work in progress. Having the mindset of one emergency at a time has allowed me let my body recover from the last couple of weeks, and prepare it for what is to come mind, body and soul.

This is my tree spot that I visit regularly to bask in the sun, read, take naps and just breathe fresh air.


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