Wednesday 22 April 2020

Isn't life just kick-you-in-the-crotch, spit-on-your-neck fantastic

There are moments - days, even - where I can see good things about our current situation. Our poor, battered planet is getting a much-needed break. Clear skies, cleaner water, deer and penguins in the streets of big cities, and even jellyfish in the canals of Venice? How awesome is that?!

I also love the solidarity. The hearts everywhere. How courteous most people treat each other. We are more united than ever in the face of a virus that doesn't discriminate, and there are examples of people helping each other everywhere.

The DIYers are having a shining moment using their skills to sew masks, hats, and uniform bags. A co-worker at the hospital brought in cute crotched headbands with buttons on the sides to attach our masks to that her mother-in-law made not only for her, but for us as well.

There is the nightly applause and pot-banging that some people can find fault with, but which most of us love and appreciate, and always will.
There are companies that usually make cars, phones or vacuum cleaners producing masks, hand sanitizers and ventilators.
There is this little ditty that brings me way too much joy:
And then there's the fact that there are less distractions. No visits with friends, drinks at the pub or going out for meals mean that we, like everybody else, have to entertain ourselves at home.  We've been spending way more time with our horses than usual. I bake two cakes a week. I cook every single day, which is not what I normally do.
I bet FOMO went down as well, since nobody can outshine each other right now: there are no envy-inspiring vacation pics online, no elaborate nails, no fancy hairdos.
It's not only okay to binge-watch Netflix, it's encouraged! It makes you a commendable and patriotic citizen of your country. Whenever else was lying around on the couch and slowly gaining weight considered heroic?!

But there's the other, darker side.
It's mentally exhausting to constantly wash hands, clean surfaces, trying to remember if you've cleaned everything properly, wash hands again, make sure you're wearing your mask and goggles, wash our uniforms, clean the groceries before putting them away, wash hands again. Our poor hands will never be the same again after this.  
Wearing a mask 8 hours during a shift is hot and claustrophobic. It hurts your ears and dampens the spirit.
So many procedures have been cancelled or postponed that we worry about what it will be like when things are opening up again. When will that happen? And how many diseases will be missed in the meantime?

And then there's the motivational pressure that's been making the rounds on social media.

Here is one example:
If you don't come out of this quarantine with either:
1.) a new skill
2.) starting what you've been putting off like a new business
3.) more knowledge
You didn't ever lack the time, you lacked the discipline.
Trust some judgmental asshole to use a global pandemic to ensure you feel shitty about yourself, on top of being worried and stressed out. The thinking behind it is as simple as it is flawed: lots of free time=accomplish all your goals. Now is the time to get a six pack, learn three new languages and write the next great novel, right?!

We are in crisis mode. We are worried and scared. We lost access to our most basic human needs: safety, connection, touch, community. We don't feel safe. We can't see our friends and family, hug our loved ones, kiss our grandkids. We are on the brink of a recession. Many of us worry about jobs, money, and security.
We have no idea how much longer this will go on, and how much longer we can bear it.

We don't lack discipline, Jeremy. We lack stability. We lack peace. We lack focus.

I've been trying to write a post for the past 10 days, and it's not going well. I've been working on this literary masterpiece for two days now, and it's not very good. I have no idea what I'm trying to say because I can't focus!

But I wanted to come here anyway, because I know that you're feeling the same way I do. Which means that you, just like me, feel inadequate and guilty.
Deep down you think Jeremy is right and that you should make the most of it.
You fear that you're wasting precious time. Who knows if we'll ever get that much free time again?
You feel guilty for not having a completely redecorated, sparkling clean house or apartment by now.
You think that you should learn a new skill and work out every day.

You are afraid that you are, indeed, a lazy and undisciplined human being who is their own worst enemy. You are worried that you will never become rich and successful and super fit. And thin, of course.
Listen up.

You are none of those things. You are human, and you are going through a traumatic, scary, uncertain time. Our future is uncertain. We can't plan ahead. We don't know when we will see our people again. Many of us don't know when we will work again. We don't know when our kids will go back to school again. We don't even know when we will get a decent haircut again, for fuck's sake!

This is no time for personal development. There is too much noise, too much gloom and doom talk, too much stress all around us. Our only job right now is to get through it. As best as we can. Some days that might look like taking a shower, baking a cake and cleaning up the garage. 
Other days it will look like staying in our PJs all day, not brushing our teeth and watching Tiger King for the third time.  

It's normal to feel desperate some days. It's also normal to not-so-secretly be glad that we can't visit our annoying aunt Getrude right now.
It's okay to eat chips for dinner some days and to have a cry over everything and everyone we're missing.

This is an emotional, crazy time. Be gentle with yourself. Cut yourself some slack. It's okay to fall apart. If you can't fall apart during a global pandemic, when can you?
Be proud for still standing, for still smiling, for hanging in there.  
We will get through this. And if it's unimproved, several pounds heavier and with the only new piece of knowledge being that tigers like sardine oil - so be it.  

Top photo found here



  1. Would you like for me to send you a some face mask extenders? I have been making them like crazy and giving them to anyone who want/needs them. They are crocheted out of cotton and can be washed. If you would like some, let me know and I can give you my email address to so you can email me where to send them :-)

    1. Would you do that? I would love one! I'll pay for it and for shipping, it's expensive in Canada.
      Here's my email:
      Thank you!!

  2. Good post, Miriam. I'm working on finding the humour in my new reality. I had to smile yesterday morning when I said to myself "oh, it must be Wednesday - I get to clean my retainers with the polident tablet today". While normally I would be marking Wednesday by driving to Ft. Langley to lead a Centering Prayer/Meditation group, this is what my life is now... Wednesday is polident day. LOL. No grand expectations for this girl. It's all about the polident, baby. I hope these small bits of humour pop up for you too!

    1. Haha that's awesome Elaine! There's definitely humour to be found in this bizarre new reality we are living in now. I love all the memes about living in quarantine, they are hilarious! Here are a few good ones:

  3. I love how you can capture the entire spirit of the good and the bad of this interesting time. :) Tell me more about the pot banging. That sounds great!

    1. Most towns in Canada do a nightly cheer at 7 o'clock for healthcare workers. They clap, yell, bang pots and pans, use noisemakers and musical instruments to show their appreciation for frontline workers. The first time I heard it it gave me goosebumps.


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