Like many of you, I’ve run through the gambit of emotions. I’m not sure of anything right now. I’m not sure what I’m going to do. I’m not sure what is going to happen this week. I’m not even sure what I’m going to write here.
Like many of you, I’m struggling with this pandemic, with its effects on our country and the world. I am constantly plagued by fears of what is happening around me, to people I know and to people I don’t know. I feel constant waves of anxiety and doubt, even when things are going well for my family and me.
I worry about my autoimmune disease and my diabetes, my daughter’s asthma, my parents and my in-laws, who are older. I worry about my grandmother, stuck in a retirement home and under lockdown. I worry about the people of my community, many of whom work jobs that can’t telecommute or are salaried. I worry about my students, who may or may not be in good home situations. I worry about my marriage, and if it will withstand yet another challenge. I worry that our country is being led by an incompetent buffoon and his lackeys who only care for themselves and their money.
All of this and so much more, yet I remain positive. Hopeful. Stupidly optimistic, even. My family is amazing and so adaptable. We loosely follow a schedule every day, with time to create, to learn, to explore the world, to exercise, and chill. If anything my kids are spending less time on their devices and TV than before.
There are reports of the environment healing itself, of air quality increasing, of water becoming clearer, of animals reappearing in places from which they’ve been driven. I’ve seen more goodwill from many of my fellow humans than I’ve seen in a long time. People donating time, food, and supplies to those that need them. The reports from China are encouraging that there will be an end, maybe not as soon as we’d hoped, but an end if we can come together. And with many positive results from the scientific community about better treatments, possible cures, and the constant efforts they’ve shown, it’s an overflowing spring of hope. Even the canals in Venice are becoming clear again!
All of this, and so much more, yet underneath all of this is an anger. A seething rage that has been building for too long and is finding new targets in this tragedy. It’s enraging to see how many stupid people out there who are hoarding not just toilet paper (toilet paper? Really?) but medical supplies that our professionals desperately need. It’s enraging to see selfish, ignorant people utterly dismissing the pleas of the medical, scientific, and elderly communities, but also the pleas of the recently dead to stay home and distance yourself. Choosing instead to attend parties, gatherings, and hang out at the beach.
It’s enraging to see politicians use this moment to undermine each other for political gain, and to enrich themselves, learning of the danger months ago and selling stock while assuring us it’s not going to be that bad. It’s utterly maddening to see so many people, who a week ago were laughing at others who were already taking precautions, calling this a hoax or stupid, now being the paragons of safety and sending prayers while saying they’ve taken this seriously the whole time. It’s incensing to see religious “leaders” use this opportunity to prey on the weak and gullible, offering healing while holding out hands for offerings.
All of this, and so much more. Yet underneath of it all, I feel a determination. A resolve growing in myself and many of my countrymen and women, to do better. We deserve a country where we all can spend more time with our families, where we can take time off for emergencies and not lose our jobs, where we all can have affordable healthcare, no matter who provides it, where people who prey on the gullible and weak are justly, JUSTLY held accountable and punished. We deserve better but we have yet to demand it, of our government and of ourselves. This tragedy can change that. It’s changed so much already, why not let it change what we expect of ourselves and of our elected officials.
If you are feeling any of the same things, if you are growing frustrated by the current state of affairs, if you feel hopeless and filled with anxiety, if you feel anger and pain, there are many things you can do to alleviate these feelings. There are resources everywhere, all over the web to help you with anger, with anxiety, with depression, and with finding help financially, mentally, and physically. You can find exercise programs now offered free. You can now take cooking classes with world-renowned chefs and eat your cares away. Who cares if you gain weight right now!
You can find therapists who will talk to you over the computer. Do a virtual happy hour with friends you haven’t seen in a while or neighbors you can’t visit. You can donate to food banks. You can donate blood! The Red Cross is in a shortage and in desperate need right now. (Click here to see how to donate) You can complete projects around the house you’ve been putting off for months (years). And most importantly, you can contact your government about the inadequacies this tragedy has brought to light. Over these next few weeks of isolation, I will be dealing with my issues the best way I know how: by doing something. By taking action, and sharing that journey here.
Today, I’m making a killer breakfast (yes, I know it’s almost lunchtime) and moving my body. I’ll be doing some walking, some yoga, and chasing my kids around the house. They say laughter is the best medicine, and while I’ll take an immunization any day, a booster shot of giggles can’t hurt.
Be well, and stay safe my friends.
Previously Published on Stupid Optimism