Pandemic Ponderings

Updated: May 21, 2020

I haven’t written much since isolation started, in fact, I haven’t done much of anything productive it seems. While friends and acquaintances may be essential workers, or maybe they’re installing new flooring in their whole house or landscaping 3 acres of property or doing anything “big,” it feels like I’ve fallen behind on productivity more than ever. It seems like if we’re not shouting into the void about everything we’re accomplishing and how productive we’re being despite this pandemic, we’re failing.

I think there’s this overwhelming sense of guilt that comes with staying at home and not being able to work or stick to our normal day to day activities. With gyms being closed, trips out of the house being limited and even outdoor activities restricted, it feels like we can do nothing but grocery shop occasionally, and try not to murder our spouses, roommates or families for breathing too loud and leaving all of the cabinets open, again.

It’s easy to fall into the narrative that everyone but you is being productive, that they’re happy and thriving, especially in this age of social media and self-congratulation for even the most miniscule of tasks; no one cares that you deep cleaned your oven for the 4th time this week Sharon, shut up. Social media makes it so easy to gloss over the parts of life that are hard or ugly or less than glamorous, and serves as a highlight reel of gourmet dinners, home remodels and sunset photos from mountain summits. It makes it easy to forget that behind those posts are messy kitchens and fights when your husband buys onions instead of the shallots you asked for, staying up until 3 am to install the tile backsplash you begged for after he worked overtime to afford it and sweaty 5 mile hikes full of dirty boots, tripping over gnarled tree roots and scrambling over boulder fields to get to the top of the mountain.

The truth is that life is harder for most of us because of this isolation, and that’s OK. If all we can do is wake up in the morning and keep ourselves fed, that’s enough. If we need to cope by filling our days with projects and trying to force ourselves to maintain some level of normalcy by implementing a schedule, that’s ok too. What isn’t ok is this strange superiority complex that seems to exist on social media, and in life, that people who do more are “better” in some way; we have no idea how hard it might be for someone else to get out of bed and take a shower or to eat 3 meals a day or to do anything at all. Grief affects us all differently, and that’s the feeling a lot of us are experiencing, it’s grief. We’re grieving our old lives, the jobs we may have lost, the hikes and shopping trips and vacations we took for granted, some of us are even grieving loved ones we may have lost during this pandemic, who we weren’t allowed to say goodbye to, we’re grieving the world we lived in just 2 months ago.

Through our grief we need to remember just a few things, to be kind to those around us, to do things that take care of our bodies and souls, and that this will end eventually, and we’ll have one hell of a story to tell our kids and their kids in 50 years.

Hang in there, you’re doing enough, you ARE enough.



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