Settle Down, 2020!

So, I want to preface this by saying that I’m safe. We’re all safe at my house. While it stormed badly last night, we didn’t get hit by any of the tornadoes.

park1.jpg

My husband woke me up late last night and we sat in the hallway that connects the bedroom in our house, because it’s the only place that doesn’t have windows. (We don’t have a basement.) We waited, listening to the wind roar through the trees outside.

This afternoon, I went for a run over to the park. It was dark. The sky was thick with low-hanging clouds. There were small branches down all through the park, and a few trees had been … I don’t know. They weren’t uprooted. Just… broken.  park2.jpg

It was completely deserted except for a few squirrels. And me. And the police drove through a few times. I suppose they were making sure that I was maintaining social distance and not congregating with the squirrels.

All day I’ve been responding to messages. Who’s safe. Who’s checked in. Who has damage to their homes, or to their cars, or knows someone who does.

It’s a lot like the ongoing coverage of the pandemic. How many new confirmed cases are there? What’s the total? How does that compare to other countries? What is the response from our state? Our county? Our city? Who knows someone who knows someone who’s symptomatic? You can really see how we’re all connected, in both macrocosmic ways (total cases) and microcosmic ways (a friend’s coworker’s cousin is in the hospital).

So you’re relieved that you’re not ill or injured or dead, and that your family and friends are okay. So far. So you’re also worried. And of course the entire situation sucks, and you’re frustrated about that. But then there’s also an underlying sense of guilt, because of course, other people haven’t been so fortunate. Do you really have the right to be frustrated with the fact that your life has been uprooted, or to worry about your friends and family, who are okay (so far), when other people have it so much worse?

Short answer: YES. YES, YOU ABSOLUTELY DO.

Your feelings are valid, and they matter, regardless of the situation that other people are in. It’s important to consider whether they’re appropriate to your situation. If you forgot to set your alarm and slept later than you meant to, despite not having to get up for school or work, and that threw you into a pit of self-loathing… you still have the right to feel that way, but you might want to talk to someone about the magnitude of that response.

This year has been a psychological sausage grinder. I’m so over it.

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