When a Stupid Virus Kicks You in the Butt Without Making You the Least Bit Sick

Big confession time: I haven’t written a freaking word in three weeks. Nothing on Fandom Fitness, nothing on Positive Reinforcement is Not a Burger After the Gym. No book proposal, no Healthy You, Healthy Earths, and no blog posts- no workouts, no recipes, no healthy tips.

I was (and to an extent still am) experiencing an existential crisis. After five years working on building ZooFit to be this incredible program for connecting people to the earth in healthy and positive ways, I have very little to show for it. I can count on ONE hand the number of devoted fans I have acquired through my efforts. And I was just exhausting myself, hustling for library events, bookstore events, conferences to attend, sponsor, and give presentations. I spent well over $10,000 last year promoting ZooFit. And I made approximately $500 from sales (and that’s for the year).

Now, I’m complaining and whining a lot there, but it’s super frustrating. See, I teach others all about ENERGY management versus TIME management. And honestly, if after five years, I am not reaching readers, followers, or my potential audience, WHY am I doing this? Why am I investing so much energy, time, money, and passion into something which is obviously not working the way I had hoped?

I started to resign myself that ZooFit was a pretty much failed experiment. Part of me regretted ever leaving the zoo, but you know, I would have always regretted not trying ZooFit if I hadn’t left, so I don’t consider this a true failure. I learned A LOT over the last five years- I got better at writing, I discovered my passion for public speaking and giving talks, and I know how to care for myself, so I can be better service to others.

For the past couple of weeks, I haven’t written, but I have been listening. I’ve been listening to others complain about compassion fatigue, stress, and work. I began thinking, I can be a radiant exemplar to zookeepers and animal professionals by BEING an animal care professional once again. So, I am actively pursuing the idea of re-entering the zoo field in some capacity. That way, I’m not just talking the talk, but I’m walking the walk. I mean, if I’m going to make a difference literally one person at a time, might as well make it my co-workers, right?

So, I wasn’t writing, but I was listening, and slowly getting back to my protocols of self-care. And a couple paths opened up for me- a really short summer job taking care of petting farm animals, a substitute SilverSneakers instructor at the local YMCA, a possible zookeeper job in a new place, volunteer opportunities here in northern Washington, and even Canada.

And then…COVID-19 hit my home state. Hard.

But I didn’t pay much attention because, well, I don’t consider myself to be a super social person. It wasn’t until three of my talks were cancelled that I even realized I DO have a social life. And then the cancellations came pouring in- no memoir writing group, no cooking lit book group, no shadowing SilverSneakers, no volunteer orientation…

When they cancelled Whidbey ComicCon, I realized how much this affects me personally. Cancelling the NBA games, music festivals- so what? But NO WHIDBEY COMICCON?!?! OH, THE HUMANITY!

And then I heard about the toilet paper shortages everywhere. I don’t completely understand it, like why TOILET PAPER? I get sanitizers and disinfectant products, but toilet paper? And I sent a thought of gratitude for Who Gives a Crap, a TP and other paper products which deliver to your home, use 100% recycled material for their products, don’t use plastic, AND contribute half their profits to providing plumbing and toilets to areas of the world where they don’t have such amenities. Talk about a Win-Win-Win. We had recently received a new shipment of TP and paper towels from them, so we are stocked for the whole season. And then, I was FINALLY inspired to write again, to share with others the wonderful option for those worried about coronavirus and toilet paper (I really don’t get it) while having a more positive impact. Only, when I went to write it, and visited Who Gives a Crap’s website, I discovered they didn’t need me to promote them. They were completely and utterly sold out of EVERYTHING.

Wow, am I behind the times or what?

So, I realized through the past few weeks that if I want to win people over, and I’m not talking about getting clients or talking gigs, but just changing lives and helping others with ZooFit, I needed to be more RELEVANT. And here’s this pandemic which is knocking our entire civilization on its butt right now, people are frantically trying to figure out how to cope, how to protect themselves and their loved ones, changing habits, and so on- things I commonly talk about during my programs, and I’m all radio silence.

Then, one of my top biggest fans, Tom Trimbath wrote on Twitter this post:

So of course, I directed him to ZooFit where I have a plethora of recipes, but also workouts and other healthy tips for these trying times. And if HE needed some advice and help, then surely others out there are looking for similar tips.

We’re self-quarantining, not bed-resting.

So, thanks, Coronavirus. I mean that sarcastically, but also literally. Yeah, I’m behind the times in helping others beat this, but better late than never.  It only took a stupid virus to kick my butt and bring me back to my senses. Doing what I do best- connecting others to the earth in healthy and positive ways.

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