The good news? My mangy facial hair, abhorrent in person, looks pretty decent on Zoom calls.
The bad news? Literally everything else. These are strange times. Significantly so. Unlike anything we’ve experienced so far, forcing change on all of us.
I, for one, seem to have forgotten that I have social anxiety. As I write this I’m sitting in my empty, recently mowed, back yard. I’m smoking a cigar under the outdoor lights that I’ve strung from my patio to the big pine tree, and back again. I’m having visions of friends sitting here with me. A million friends and an equal number of enemies. Everyone’s invited. Yes, even that guy.
I’ve talked with a few friends today and they’re experiencing similar weirdness. My extrovert friend is realizing that he’s actually more comfortable being alone than he thought he could be. My introvert friend, like myself, would settle for a visit from just about anyone. Maybe one thing that will come out of this is we’ll realize that all of us, introverts and extroverts, were never all that different. Some of us just needed to be forced to sit alone long enough for it to become the norm. The rest of us just needed to be forced to sit alone long enough for it to hurt.
Those are some of the things that I’m thinking right now, a few thoughts among many. I’m actually thinking and feeling a large number of things. As I do, one thing that’s remained fairly consistent is that for every thought that I have, I find myself trying to decide if that thought is one of the thoughts that’s allowed. If it’s one of the things that it’s okay to think.
Here’s a small list of some of those thoughts, and some of the thoughts that immediately follow:
This is a really big deal (Yeah, but a majority of the population will be fine)
This is not as big a deal as I think it is (Bastard. Do you realize what 1.5% of all people adds up to?)
This is interesting (That’s the way a cold and calculated killer would think)
This is mortifying (That’s the way a faithless coward would think)
I can’t believe people are hoarding toilet paper (You should go hoard some before they do)
I’m thankful that I have a job (And you should feel horrible. So many of the people you love and care about are being laid off)
I kind of wish I was being laid off (Literally the worst thing you could possibly think. Enjoy Hell)
So those are a few of the thousand different things that are playing in my head on shuffle and repeat. It’s actually a little exhausting. I’ve heard from a number of people who seem pretty confident regarding what’s the right thing to think at the moment. I’m not one of those people. If you’re like me, then let me say this:
Nobody prepped you for how to feel right now. Hell, nobody taught you how to use a checkbook. Or even the importance of checking the lint screen on a dryer. Nobody we know has lived in this exact moment in time, or in the midst of this exact situation. It’s a first for all of us living in 2020. You’re going to think a lot of things. As those thoughts flow into your head, try not being so quick to judge them. You’ve never had thoughts exactly like these before. You may never have thoughts exactly like these again.
And you’ll have years to decide what was the right and what was the wrong way to feel. For now, know that there’s grace enough to cover all the things you’re not sure you should think. This is an uncharted chapter for all of us.