Lets start here. I began preparing for this COVID shit show a couple weeks before all hell broke loose here in California. My grocery was done, I had everything at home to keep my family safe for a month. I even had a day schedule for my kid and a family meal plan for each day of the month. Let that not surprise you. My friend AB says, I am built for disaster.
But I gotta say, slowly but surely...I am losing my shit. And I know, I am not alone.
I am fed up of cooking and cleaning. I am tired of recording my University lectures that most of my students are not really watching. I crave alone time. I've put on the weight that I spent six months last year trying to lose. My muscle mass is gone because I can't row at the gym anymore. I am drinking more wine than I really should. My partner's job has been just insane and non-stop - and that means I am doing everything else in the home, except his job. I still can't find toilet paper or an Amazon grocery delivery slot.
I agree that my issues are so tiny in comparison with what's going on around me but I am definitely feeling that contextual stress - Such despair on my social media feeds and on the news. We lost a family member in India last week. I have a friend in Detroit who has lost 13 of his friends. Two people I know lost a parent. Two more found out their dads had cancer. A student with a documented disability has serious anxiety because two of her family members were admitted to the hospital. Another student is now living in a trailer that leaks. A couple students in the restaurant industry have lost their jobs, some in retail are afraid they will get sick and infect their older parents at home. Several of my friends in healthcare are on the front lines. One friend had to lay off a bunch of her team members. Another had to close her practice and lay off ALL her staff of ten years.
It's just all really sad and depressing.
Yesterday, I watched a three-hour MBUSD board meeting online. Budgets are being slashed. Amazing teachers are being laid off. The Music program is on shaky grounds. Students and parents are holding on to some hope that there may be in-person graduation ceremonies. Conversations are around how we need to grade students this year, struggles with teaching online, and if district schools will open again this year. Really, all the same conversations that we are having at the college level and for our students.
I am already so exhausted with what's going on around me but I think that we are in this for the long haul. The shit show is about to get a lot more shittier. We are seeing more furious reactions to Trump's tweets or Fauci's comments, depending on which camp you are in. More folks feeling lost, or suffering. Some are dying. There are supposed medicines that work, and then they don't. Conspiracy theories. Prayers vs. science. People demanding to open beaches. Folks gathering (!) to protest stay-at-home orders. You may or may not call them covidiots but in all honesty, people are just sick and tired. And understandably so.
So, where do we go from here?
Do we wait for this shit show to be over, for the beaches and the schools to open, for the social media shaming to end? How long do we wait for our life to go back to how it was? Do we let the storms pass and wait for the sunshine? Do we wait for Godot?
Truth is, we have no choice but to brave what comes our way. We need to be strong enough not to let this virus hold us hostage. Yes, there are losses, sorrows and sad stories. This is a terrible time in our lives. But we have to make our way out of this darkness. And while all of us have different realities, we have to push ourselves each and every day to work on our dreams, to live our stories, and to create and enjoy happy moments in whatever way we can.
Positive thinking will help. A willingness and an open mind to look for that silver lining will make all the difference. Smell a flower. Watch a plant grow. Meditate. Give each other massages. Call an old friend. Foster a puppy. Write a blog. Call a parent. Make a new friend online. Pray. Read a book. Draw. Watch something funny. Sing. Learn a skill. Entertain your children and be entertained by them. Play a board game. Light a candle. If you can, donate to food bank or feed staff at the hospital. Be grateful that you have a roof over your head. Celebrate that you finished a book. That the earth is healing.
Little steps to a happy soul.
Let's not wait for the darn sunshine. Don't surrender, resist. Find inner joy, despite of the storms. You got this.