If you can sit quietly after difficult news; if in financial downturns you remain perfectly calm; if you can see your neighbors travel to fantastic places without a twinge of jealousy; if you can happily eat whatever is put on your plate; you can fall asleep after a day of running around without a drink or a pill; if you can always find contentment just where you are: you are probably a dog.
I started with Jack’s quotation about being a dog because I want to be clear that only a dog can aspire to that degree of calm equilibrium. People not so much.
For most of us, this experience is unprecedented in our lifetimes. Our familiar ways of thinking, planning, coping, and fixing are not overall available to us in the same ways. We are, almost all of us, making it up as we go along.
Some people are talking about “thriving” during this time. I both admire and doubt them.
It’s true that crisis can sometimes provide opportunity. But along with it comes loss, stress, fear, unpredictability, exhaustion, the possibility of illness or death. You know, all the cool stuff.
If you can use this time to grow or be productive in any way, that’s wonderful. And it can feel empowering or comforting to do that.
But it’s not a requirement of a pandemic. Sometimes your best position is one of self-compassion. Accept that you are using a ton of energy just to exist in this new reality. Maybe you don’t also have to become that new, more accomplished person right now that you’ve always hoped to become. Maybe you don’t have to use any extra time provided by the new limits in your life to build/achieve/ clean/or grow things. Maybe you need that time to adapt, or to rest, or to find comfort.
Be kind to yourself. Maybe it’s ok just to be.