It’s really been more than two months since the last time I was here. This is usually where I’d bridge the gap by saying something like, “So much has happened!”
But nothing is usual now. As if that’s lost on any of you.
As if you’re not also trying to find some semblance of equilibrium. As if you’re not also trying to figure out how to work from home, or to be out of work when money is still required. Not also trying to decide the what and the how of homeschooling your kids, if you have them. Not also trying to separate the fact from the fiction when it comes to the news. Trying to find the calm within in spite of the chaos without.
Maybe none of the above apply to you. Maybe your job has been labeled essential, and your day is pretty much the same, except bathed in immeasurable anxiety due to being forced to work with a skeleton crew and the continuous undercurrent of the potential risk of infection. So, not the same at all.
As an American, I am sad that it seems many people are choosing to maintain their individualism instead of acting in ways that would benefit our country as a whole. As an American, I am ashamed at the racism that people are displaying towards anyone who we think looks Asian (check out this recent article from Bunkong Tuon on surviving Coronavirus while Asian). As an American, I am embarrassed and angered at the actions of our president, and how his behavior endorses both maintenance of individualistic thought and racism, and endangers people.
As a Dedicated Introvert, though, I’ll be painfully honest: I’m living my Best Life right now. I am fortunate to have a house to call home, and my people, my pets, and my things are with me. The weather here in Kansas is turning toward spring, and green and vibrantly colored things are beginning to unfold themselves all around. Because our kids are home and we are doing at least thirty minutes of phys. ed. every day, I have done more intentional exercise in the past two weeks than in a typical month. Okay, than in a typical six months.
I’m not blind to the fact that were just one or two factors in our current situation different, what I’m writing here now would be much different. My household is extremely fortunate in a number of ways, and we are supporting our neighbors as we can. Whether it’s making sure a school friend has a ride to pick up the food our district is providing for free to school-aged kids or running errands for the older woman across the street so that she is less exposed, there are acts each of us can do to make it easier to be in this strange new world.
There has been some discussion, on Twitter especially, about whether or not we will allow things to revert to how they were before anyone ever knew of COVID-19 or whether we will choose to do things differently.
Make no mistake: it is a choice. It is a choice whether or not to make work more accessible to all people, not only those who are physically able to get to a designated work place, or to continue excluding people who are able of productive contributions. It is a choice to make sure that people in our communities have what they need or to disregard their humanity. It is a choice to learn about and appreciate people who have different backgrounds from ours, or to maintain willful ignorance. It is a choice to continue to overtax the land and burden or destroy resources, or to consider reproductive- and waste-control measures.
Most of us are facing a multitude of inconveniences right now; a plurality of irritations. And that’s frustrating. Do you know what spurs growth and change? Inconvenience, irritation, and frustration. Don’t let this time pass without any beneficial growth. Whether it’s getting out of yourself enough to really enjoy a child or family member, finally getting to know your neighbor two doors down, or learning a new skill, come out of this time as someone who has changed for the better.
Because you know what? There are tens of thousands of people who are not coming out of this at all, and I feel like we owe it to them.
Yes, be upset at the inconveniences and the downright hardships. Yes, express how you’re feeling. It comes in waves, and that’s ok. But don’t let your sadness, anxiety, or fear prevent forward motion. This may be the first time some of you are experiencing a traumatic event.
Let me let you in on a secret that those of us who are not in the First Timers’ Club use to make it through every damn day: you don’t have to move on, but you have to move forward.
The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone.