flowers + reading
Apr 15, 2020
Written by Lindsay Diminick, owner of Yellow Twist Floral Design
“Everything we do before a pandemic will seem alarmist. Everything we do after a pandemic will seem inadequate. This is the dilemma we face, but it should not stop us from doing what we can to prepare.” –
– Michael O. Leavitt, 2007
No one likes being called non-essential. As governors mandate that all non-essential workers stay home, the floral industry is confronted with the work of communicating the importance of flowers. Some of us can pivot our business to curb-side pickup, some of us can purchase flowers for online teaching, some
can donate to funds that support the staff of our wholesalers, but some of us sit shuttered as “non-essential”. To all of us, I offer a suggestion…. the word, yet. When my seven-year-old says, “I can’t!” I yell back, “yet!”. Together we are working to flatten the curve, that is essential. It is how we stay part of the community and take care of one another. The time will come again for us to step back into flowers to create connection, communicate emotions, and bring people together in all of life’s big moments.
Yesterday I read an article about all the ways in which the nation’s leading macro-thinkers (yup, it’s a thing) imagine this pandemic will change our society. It was filled with hope. One thought was that this will help people value downtime more than productivity. Perhaps they will seek the talents of an expert designer rather than try to DIY. Another “thinker” shared that many will rediscover nature. This could lead to greener practices in our industry and many others. If asked to do some macro-thinking about what this pandemic will change within our industry, I would share the hope that we will become better prepared for all types of emergencies.
Six and a half years ago I was diagnosed with leukemia. That call from my doctor brought my life to a screeching halt. I was told to leave for the hospital immediately or to call the ambulance. Within hours I was receiving platelet transfusions and chemotherapy. I spent the first week in the ICU and then a month in the hospital. It was the first time I was away from my daughter. Then I had twelve weeks of daily chemo infusions and various other treatments. I don’t share this story lightly and I’m not trying to scare you. I’m putting it here because I know what it is like to be filled with uncertainty. I’m putting it here because I am scared and that is ok.
This is the first time that many of us are being forced to recognize that life is fragile. And that is ok. Denial is a tool that allows us to keep going, to get back in a car after witnessing a crash, to show up in our lives each and every day. But now we are all sitting in uncertainty and feeling anxious. That is an involuntary response meant to protect us. Anxiety grabs our attention and forces us to address something that may be harmful or scary. The trick is to figure out what amount of anxiety is useful and then to put the rest aside. Find the line. Make sure you’ve done what you can and then move along. This is a time of great uncertainty, but so is each and every day.
Right now, we don’t have all the answers about this virus or how long social distancing will be an integral way of life. Covid-19 has shown us the importance of not exposing others by working, travelling, or gathering when you are sick. My hope is that the world will gather again before we have found a way to eradicate or cure this disease. That means 1) the transmission rate has lowered, and 2) there will still be a chance that you can become sick with this virus.
One of my mottos is that “the only thing you can control is how much energy you give something”. When figuring out how to pay your bills, how to keep your business operating and ready for when the time comes to gather again, my suggestion is that you turn your attention to the work that will keep your business going when another emergency happens. It is not fun to talk about these things, but I promise that having a basic contingency plan in place will provide peace of mind.
Last week I celebrated my 5-year cancer remission anniversary. It means the likelihood of my leukemia returning drops to almost nothing. I had planned a party that is now postponed. With each passing year the anxiety I felt around relapse has lessened, but today I am faced with the realization that the medicines that saved my life have lasting side effects on my health. As I figure out what to do with my business my number one concern is lessening my risk of exposure. And that is ok. It is ok if you continue to try to fill the world with beauty because flowers have positive benefits on people’s moods. It is ok to do what is best for your own situation and wellbeing. You don’t need my approval or anyone else’s. We can all do this differently, but what I hope we have in common is preparedness.
The best part of cancer (besides the ease of being bald) was the kindness I experienced and the space that opened up in my life. People really show up for you when you have cancer. Right now, the world is experiencing that all at once – or at least I hope so. There is so much compassion and kindness and connectivity. People are self-isolating for the greater good. People are checking in with one another and making sure their neighbors have what they need. Reminding you to have a plan should you need to take time off is my way of checking in. Because while gathering together in person may not be essential, yet, it will be again.
Read more of Lindsay’s story and listen to her on the Botanical Brouhaha Podcast: