It's 3:40 am.  I'm wide awake...and for once, my insomnia is not due to anxiety.  My mind has been wandering on and off all night.  So here I am with a very quiet house, the sound of the air conditioner and an occasional ice maker dropping ice, and my thoughts.  Multiple people have said to me in conversations over the last few days the same posing question in a variety of different ways, all with the same meaning:

"What if the universe is telling us to stop...if just for a minute?"

What if there is a just a little positive to come out of all of this chaos and crisis?  Could it be a signal to slow down?  Take a breath.  Be with your loved ones (that you currently can be).  Be with your animals (if you have any).  Or just be.  How hard is that for us?  To just be still?  We are constantly connected.  Our brains are so wired to see what we are missing in the outside world.  What if, for just once in our lives, we get a moment to not miss out on anything?  

Anyone who knows me understands that I have a keen desire to find the glass half full in just about everything.  Sure, moments in life get me down.  Anxiety weighs on me, but I would argue that most people can say that as well.  My head just keeps turning back to what we can do to help.  

I could not be more proud of how the City Paper team has stepped in and up amongst the chaos in our communities, in our cities, and in our world right now.  There is an epic amount of caring and consideration for one another's feelings, for our customers, for checking in with our vendors.  Moments of challenge often bring out the true character of humans...and I can honestly say that I am so honored and proud to be working along side each one of these humans.  I say that often, but it's even more evident when we are all remote and the dependence falls on us to step up to the plate and chip in.  

For whatever reason, our leadership team thrives a little on chaos.  Maybe it's because, as a 123-year old company, we are kind of used to it by now.  Our company has seen a great deal and even though we all have not been around to experience each event, we know and can imagine what those before us had to handle.  Crisis mode, in the strangest way, brings out some of my best qualities.  A fire once started on my parents' dining room table and when questioned why I did not yell or scream to get help, my response was simply, "I guess I was trying to remain calm."  We are all in a pressure cooker right now.  Let's find the positives.  Let's focus on the things for which we can be grateful.  Let's soak in the moments we rarely ever get.  For me, that is largely the opportunity to be home with our two young girls.  Emily (6) and Zoë (3) will likely not remember most of this period of time that will clearly go down in history, but as a working mom who juggles leaning in to everything, I certainly will remember these moments.  And yes, some of them are crazy and filled with running around the house, spilling cereal milk all over the floor (twice), temporarily losing a 3 year old who was hiding in a kitchen cabinet and fighting over which show to watch while coloring on my kitchen table - note: the actual table, not a piece of paper on the table. But most moments are filled with extra cuddles, watching Emily learn how to read a new word in between "shush, Mommy is on the phone" and FaceTimes with our friends, classmates, family and even teachers.  

And then there is Brad.  I just have been so proud of him.  He is losing his voice more and more as each day passes talking endlessly with customers, our team, our warehouse, our suppliers.  I'm a lucky girl to be married to him and CP is so lucky to have him leading our charge.

So evidently this post has nothing to do with marketing or promo or packaging or advertising or anything of the sort.  It really comes down to pausing, taking a minute and reflecting.  Can you take something positive out of the chaos right now even in its scariest moments?  I hope so...at least, I hope you will try.  And if you need it, I'm here.  City Paper is here, but also I am here.  If there is some way we can help you during this time, we will certainly do our best.  

I leave you with a quote from one of my favorites, Billy Joel...

Slow down, you crazy child
And take the phone off the hook and disappear for awhile
It's all right, you can afford to lose a day or two
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?

From the City Paper team to you and your families, we hope you are staying healthy and embracing what good can come out of this situation.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone.

Sincerely,

Stephanie