I wanted to check in with you. How are you doing? Are you holding up okay during this bizarre and trying time?
This situation is like nothing any of us have ever experienced before. Every single aspect of it is unique to modern experience.
The feelings associated with this are mixed. Fear, obviously. Uncertainty. Distress. There are so many unknowns and variables happening all at once. This is change at its most fluid and unpredictable.
You should know that it’s okay to not be okay. The timeline is unknown, how long we need to take the precautions we are (or damned well should be) taking is a mystery. Weeks? Months? It’s hard to say.
That is simply disturbing. And it feels very much like we have ZERO control right now.
That’s true, at least when it comes to the big picture. Overall you cannot control the world at large and other people.
But you have yourself. And you are more powerful than you realize.
How are you doing? If the answer is “not well,” then take comfort in knowing lots of us understand. I am here for you, and I totally get the discontent, fear, and uncertainty that this brings out. I feel it, too.
You are not alone
There are a lot of people right now who are isolated, sheltering in place somewhere alone. Even people who live with family still may be feeling disconnected from others. Extroverts don’t usually introvert like this.
You are not the only one feeling how you may be feeling. To be fair, the exact nature of the emotion is felt uniquely by every individual. Yet overall the names for the emotions are a similar comparison of their shapes that prove we’re not alone in this.
Despite being unable to gather with people, you can still stay in contact. Letter writing is an old, tried and true means of communication. But it can be a lot more instantaneous via email, Facebook messenger, Google Hangouts, and the like.
The Jetsons had it right. We have videophones! Well, ok, maybe not exactly videophones, but Zoom, GoToMeeting, Facebook Messenger and the like give you a face-to-face communication option across the internet.
I joined a chat and had a drink with friends in three separate states last night, for example.
The current normal may not be normal — but you can introduce some normalcy into it. That’s a choice you can make. You have that power.
Go on the offensive
The positivity offensive is a means to an end. It is seeking, finding, and/or creating positivity — even in brief –to redirect your headspace.
This situation is taking a toll on even the strongest psyche. Nobody is immune to it. Even the most introverted are having to deal with sharing their ways — which can drive them to withdraw further.
You are being bombarded with news, information, and a lot of facts and figures about this virus and its impact on the world. Simultaneously, you are being inundated with heresy, conjecture, disinformation, and made-up bullshit. This is muddying the situation and making it far worse than it need be.
You have a choice. You get to decide what to take in and what not to. It’s up to you how much you subject yourself to.
I am avoiding the vast majority of news. Overall, I am reading headlines and only diving into the depths from reliable sources — and that very rarely. I have enough information to stay generally in-the-know but not so much to make myself crazy(er).
Because let’s be honest — this is crazy. So choose to allow yourself to drift in the river of crazy — or — swim and seek alternatives.
Rather than sit back and be overwhelmed — take control. Be mindful and become really aware of your present and yourself. In fact, maybe this is the one time its okay to be a little selfish.
Selfish but not selfishness
How does that work? Currently, the best defense against the spread of Covid-19 is sheltering in place. Social distancing. Self-quarantine. Keeping yourself to yourself to protect not just you but those who are a lot more vulnerable than you may be.
Many people are being laid off both temporarily and permanently. The other side of this situation is going to be very different from how we came into it. Welcome to the ultimate example of the inevitability of change.
Have you been where you wanted to be with your life? Or have you been living for the benefit of others? Since currently the only person that you can physically be there for is you why not be a bit selfish and do things for yourself?
Write. Paint. Sculpt. Clean. Cook. Sing. Do all the things you never have time for now that you have the time. The world we live in and the collective consciousness is far more within our control than we tend to believe. So let’s take advantage and take control.
How? By practicing mindfulness, of course.
Mindfulness makes you aware in the present moment of your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Which, in truth, are the only things over which you have any real control. So go with that, work with that, and do some things to keep yourself sane. Take actions that level you out and help you to hold up in this bizarre and unusual time.
Guess what? These selfish acts are not selfishness. Why? Because you are really, truly, not harming anyone else. Actual selfishness is harmful to others and this most certainly is not.
Spare a thought for those still out there
For all of us who are home and sheltering in place, there are still many people who are doing their jobs. All of them are taking extra precautions — but are still also risking themselves.
How are YOU doing, people still working? I have no doubt you are scared because you are more open to exposure and the consequences of that. Any family you are in contact with at home after you are done working share your risk, and that I have no doubt is scary, too.
On top of this, the entitlement of many people is causing them to act in undignified ways and to treat you disrespectfully. That’s just uncool — and those assholes need to be reminded that you deserve gratitude and appreciation for what you are doing.
That said — THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! Please know that for all the unappreciative and rude jerks out there, I and many others thoroughly appreciate you and all you are doing.
Thank you for delivering food and things, doing check-out at grocery stores and pharmacies, cooking food at otherwise shuttered restaurants, doctors, nurses, scientists in labs looking for a vaccine and cure, call-center workers inundated with fearful and angry callers, warehouse workers packing and shipping, and everyone else still doing jobs to help the rest of us out.
You are not heroes — you are superhumans and exemplars of the selfless.
How are you doing?
If the answer is badly, poorly, or otherwise negative — know that it’s okay and you are not alone. Reach out and let people know you need that virtual hug (and will take a real one on the other side of this). Do not be afraid to ask for help. You are only human.
I am well overall, but I have my moments. This is like nothing I have ever imagined, and it is riddled with uncertainty.
My positivity offensive strategy is to focus on doing all I can in the now for both myself and you. I am working on my fiction for me (and you, because distractions like fictional worlds are good) and non-fiction for us both (because knowing you are not alone in this matters).
Further, I am working to focus on seeing the other side of this situation, where we will be beginning a new normal that’s at least somewhat like the old. But maybe better.
We are in this together by staying apart. The current normal is not normal. How you are holding up matters — and you have resources both within and without to help you. Don’t hesitate to use them however you need to.
We WILL see the other side of this in time. Hold to that and do what you can to make the most of the present moment. Keep going — you can do it!
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you and I matter and together we can be alright and get through this unusual situation.