We Have To Take This Punch
Now that we’re about a month into the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s time to buck up, jettison all of our worries, and move on already.
Wanting to cope with this by not coping with it is a fool’s errand. The magnitude of the coronavirus, and the havoc that it’s wreaking on our lives must be recognized and respected. In the span of a week, a virus and its disease spread furiously to every single country. Schools closed, state executive orders to shelter-in-place were implemented, businesses shut their doors, access to food and toilet paper was--and continues to be--threatened, and then we were told that it’s going to get worse before it gets better.
Any one of these changes is a colossal disruptor, but taken together, it is the composite of literature’s most menacing beasts--Frankenstein, Grendel, The Kraken, Medusa, and The Hound of the Baskervilles--but unlike these great literary works, our beast is real.
Believe it or not, we were built for this. While we need to reckon with the growing number of cases and deaths and economic devastation, there’s also been a groundswell of defiant hope and optimism.
As a global community, we’ve been hit in the mouth in the worst way, but we have to learn how to take this punch.
Allow Yourself to Absorb the Shock
Unless you’re Beverly Cleary, who is 103-years-old and was born two years before the Spanish Flu, you’ve never experienced anything like coronavirus before. Chew on the enormity of this situation, feel the blunt force trauma of it, and process these feelings. It’s okay to be disoriented by the sudden responsibility to learn how to be lonely if you’re single, or if you have a family, to be an all-in-one partner, parent, cook, and home-school teacher if your kids are e-learning.
We’re all students of a pandemic, and we need to give ourselves the chance to learn during this transition.
In a stroke of irony, I feel more connected than ever to the people in my life during the era of social distancing. My incredible network has made it impossible not to stay connected by setting up video conferencing meetings, virtual happy hours, and even Zoom Passover Seders. There's been an outpouring of empathy from those who come by it easily and those who don't. People are craving connection now, and reaching out to them will be enriching for all of you.
Celebrate the Wins
Actually, blow them the hell out of proportion.
Surviving another day of this is a huge win containing other wins, like a Russian nesting doll. As a master practitioner of imposter syndrome, I struggle with following my own advice, but I’m getting better. For example, I wanted to publish this blog post on Tuesday, but I didn’t because...pandemic. I was allowing this shortcoming to define my day until I reviewed everything else I addressed: making my kids lunch, playing a game of horse with them, completing client work, and going on a walk, to name a few.
Even if you were so overwhelmed that you only checked a few items off your to-do list, the fact that you’re social distancing means that you are actively flattening the curve and saving lives, which is no small thing.
By the way, there are no small wins. That was before. Every win is a giant today.
Listen to the Facts and Trust the Experts
I don’t know that anyone, including the worst social media troll, has ever read their Twitter feed and felt like a better person. That said, it’s our obligation to stay informed about coronavirus because every action and decision we make impacts our community for better or worse. While your news notifications are troubling, suck it up and take the time to learn about the latest developments. Listen to the facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
It would be tone-deaf of me not to acknowledge that I’m coming from a place of privilege. For one, I am healthy, and so is my family. I have a solid support system, and I live in a municipality that is vigilantly monitoring COVID-19 and keeping our community safe. Though this is a global pandemic, we’re not all experiencing it in the same way, and that includes the underserved communities in my metropolitan area.
We’ll do what we can with what we’ve got, and then we’ll counter-punch. Let’s all do our part to slay the beast.
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