Life is always throwing curveballs. Always. Back in January, I was burnt out in the highest sense of the word and eagerly awaiting a two-week cross-country camping trip in mid-March. My husband and I had been planning it for months – our first stop would be in Chicago where we’d savor real deep dish pizza for the first time. We’d also quickly pose for a photo in front of The Bean and then get back on the road. Other stops included Mt. Rushmore, Aspen, Yellowstone, and Garden of the Gods, and Denver before we took the 24-hour(ish) drive back to New York.
It’s almost comical how life works out. Work stress? Here, hold my beer. There’s nothing like a 2-month quarantine to put burnout (and frankly, life) into perspective. Imagine, if you would, a world where most of the shops, parks, restaurants, and all other fun things are closed. Where grocery stores run on shorter hours with limited supplies of the commonest of goods – like bleach, chicken breasts, flour, and frozen strawberries. Where a 36-pack of eggs is $9. Where people fight over hand sanitizer and paper products like they’re the last hit toy on the shelves during a Black Friday shopping spree.
Imagine a world where you can’t be in public without a mask. Where you can’t visit your family or friends because at any minute a life could be lost. Imagine not being able to go into that stressful job, but instead, being forced to blend work into home-life without any imminent reprieve. Or worse – being furloughed or laid off and struggling to even get in touch with your local unemployment office. What a lonely and sad world it’s been for the last two months.
We’re not in the same boat
I’ve seen a lot of celebrities post how we are all in this together, or all in the same boat. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. Some have an essential job or an emergency savings to carry them through; others haven’t received a paycheck in weeks. Some are healthy and able to function almost normally; some are fighting for their lives in the ICU. Some have 35-room mansions, a nanny, a personal chef, and a butler; others have a one-bedroom apartment they are using as a both a makeshift office and school. We’re not all in the same boat, but we’re in the same storm trying to make it through.
I’ve also seen a lot of posts shaming people for not making the most of their time at home. “Now is the perfect time to learn a new skill, craft, or language!” Well, maybe for some, but not for the parents who are juggling work and homeschool. Or for the employees now working from home and putting in extra hours because the clear distinction between work and home no longer exists. Or for those worried about loved ones battling the virus. Or for first responders crashing on the couch after a shift because they are too exhausted to practice an Italian lesson. Give me a break.
Just do your best
We’re all out here doing what we can with what we have. If it makes you happy to paint a new masterpiece each week while practicing French, you do you. If you’d rather sleep for days underneath a weighted blanket, I feel that. It’s important that everyone get through this pandemic in a way that works for them and no one else. Whatever you do to keep on keeping on, just know that shaming others for how they process stress is never cool.
Ultimately, we just need to take it one day at a time, always be kind, and remember that there are good days ahead. Oh, and always – ALWAYS – appreciate those good days.