While some states are beginning the process of opening up, you have news of large corporations extending work from home policies into the fall. The juxtaposition is a bit dizzying. Really, I just don't want to be talking about the subject of this damn pandemic anymore.
However, here we are, and many of us are just as concerned about COVID-19 spreading as we were two months ago. Sheltering in place for this long has felt brutal, and I imagine several of you can relate.
From a more science-informed standpoint, the part of our nervous system that governs our sense of calm and security was under-stimulated two months ago. Today, well, I think you get where I'm going. The part of the nervous system that regulates the fight, flight, freeze response most of us are so familiar with has been overworked and for far too long. Many of us are experiencing symptoms that look like, well, we're living through a long, drawn-out health disaster. I'm not sure where you're at, but you may be experiencing symptoms of burnout, depression, or adrenal fatigue—that's completely normal when experiencing something that is anything but normal.
What is simultaneously patently human and yet extraordinary is that we have to keep moving forward. One day at a time.
What I find hopeful is the number of people who are giving the loudest, most poignant rebuttal to the normal that was, through compassion and selflessness. We do not have to look far to see the glimmers of human goodness amidst the darkness.
And yet we have so much work to do.
But look at the potential. We have an opportunity to re-envision, remake, work, and employment. We have an opening to ask tough questions about the ways our healthcare system is set up to fail people of color and people without affluence. I would go so far as to say that we have the moral imperative to create a new normal. One that doesn't see 60,000 of the next generations' lives as an acceptable cost to manage the next pandemic.
Today is a gift, I find, as I have the privilege of living it and using it to incrementally make tomorrow better. Even in this perpetual state of over-stimulation and under-relaxation, there is space enough to breathe—that is enough for today. Amid a pandemic, a conscious breath is both an act of aliveness, and it is also the first step in tomorrow's revolution. Just one breath.
Look at how we in so many ways have adapted to this new un-normal—this should never be normalized. Just think about what we can do together when we are not, in some cases literally, fighting for our lives. What might we be able to accomplish on the fronts of sexism, racism, climate change, and bigotry in response to this crisis?
No one is coming to save us; we have to save ourselves.
We owe it to one another. We owe it to ourselves. We owe it to those who come after us.