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Sometimes the best “how-to” advice isn’t even advice at all. And while we’re at it, it can be pretty short on the “how-to” factor as well.

Sometimes the best way to help anyone get through a challenging time is to simply admit that what they are going through is challenging. With no attempt to fix it.

I think that is where we are right now in our quarantine lives.

It’s been nearly 11 months since the term “lockdown” became something that applied to more than just prison break movies. It became a way of life for us all, and the results were messy.

How could they be anything but? Humans are not meant to be isolated. It’s just not normal to be told to stand six feet away from everyone you meet and to leave your home only for essential business.

It’s been hard.  And it’s been going on for nearly a year.

For so much of that time we had a common nemesis.  One thing to blame for all our struggles and all the unmet expectations.

That nemesis was 2020.

The year was just a wash. Any time something else went wrong it was like, “there goes 2020 again”. Or “of course that happened, it’s 2020”. Or simply “fuck 2020”.

We knew the first year of this new decade was going to be brutal.  We eventually accepted it, took a pass on the remaining months and then turned our attention to 2021. 

As if the dropping of the ball in Times Square would drop all of our worries and concerns as well.

Of course, logically we all knew the beginning of 2021 wouldn’t technically be any different. There was still a vaccine that needed a massive rollout, lockdowns persisted throughout the country and world, travel is still off the table, and most of us continue to work remotely. That is if we’re fortunate enough to still have a job.

But even with this understanding, 2021 has been brutal.

Yes, there was politics that was not-as-usual, an attempted insurrection, and continued racial injustice and unrest. But even if you removed all of that you still have the reality of a pandemic and all of the restrictions it still means.

I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted. Like, physically and emotionally spent. Before all of this happened, I would have days of running all over New York City that would leave me feeling well-rested compared to the aftermath of a day now spent entirely stuck in my home.

We’ve hit the pandemic wall, my friends.

When it was still 2020 I think we found it easier to show ourselves a little more grace with how we were feeling. We knew we were in the grieving process, that life was going to feel not right for a while, and that it was okay to not be as productive as usual.

But that was then. Now it feels like the pressure is back on.  Now we ask ourselves questions like, how much more time can we allow ourselves to lose?

That grace?  It expired, leaving us mentally and emotionally spent. Yet also feeling like we aren’t nearly doing enough. 

These feelings are compounded when you’re actually healthy and still employed.  You realize many others have it worse, but that doesn’t make your own reality feel like anything but a struggle.

So, what do we do? How do we get through these remaining months and not completely lose our minds or our will to go on?

We do the only things we can do.  We talk about it.  We share how we’re feeling.  We acknowledge that this is rough.  That these are unprecedented times.  That we’ve hit the wall.  That this isn’t normal.

And that it’s not supposed to be.

We have absolutely no idea how much longer this pandemic will dominate our lives.  And we have no idea what those lives will really look like on the other side.

But we are resilient creatures.  That’s how we’ve made it this far.  And that’s how we’ll keep going.  Especially when we’re honest about just how tough this is.

There are no easy answers. Which is, somehow, the only answer we really need right now.

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