You can’t hop on social media these days without being flooded with memes about the terrors of 2020. From Trump and the election drama to the social injustice, economic crisis, and global pandemic, people just can’t seem to wait for 2020 to wrap itself up so we can all get back to normal. The desperation and anxiety we are all feeling is almost palpable. We seem caught in a state of limbo, balancing on the edge of a cliff, clutching to any sense of normalcy we can find in order to prevent ourselves from falling apart.
I keep catching myself saying, “I can’t wait until all of this is over!” or “As soon as this is all done, I am going to …..”. It is as if I am expecting that one day, preferably January 1st, 2021, I will wake up and this will all be over. I will rub my weary eyes, pick up my phone, and see that the pandemic has disappeared overnight, Trump’s Twitter account has been permanently deleted, and the world is in a state of peace and harmony. The internet will be filled with cute cat videos again and I will be able to travel, dine with friends, and go shopping without fear that I might have to wrestle for toilet paper.
It will all be great. We just have to get through this, and then everything will go back to the way it was …
Except that isn’t going to happen. As much as I wish this wasn’t true, we are not going to wake up one day and find that things have gone back to ‘normal’. Covid is here to stay, as is the political and economic turbulence. This is, and will continue to be, our reality for the foreseeable future. And right now one of the only choices we are left with is how we choose to manage it.
This has been an incredibly stressful year so it is completely understandable that we want to make sense of it. Our brains want to be able to comprehend why this happened, how we can fix it, and when it will all be over. We want someone to blame. We want someone to make it better. We want it to go away. And the very idea that things are more likely to get worse, or that things may never be the same again, is very difficult to wrap our heads around. We are grieving. We are coping. We are doing the best we can, and that is okay. This is uncharted territory and we are allowed to react to the fact that the world has quite literally gone to shit over the past several months.
But here is the deal … as much as we need to allow ourselves a lot of grace right now, we also need to stop waiting. We have been in a state of pause since this whole thing started, taking things moment to moment, but with our sites laser-focused on ‘the end’. An ending which unfortunately, is nowhere in sight. The bottom line is, no one knows what is going to happen (even the guys on Youtube), but the one thing we can all be fairly sure of is, we are in this for the long haul. We aren’t going to wake up one day to a magic fix and this is not just an intermission. We need to find a way to move forward, even if ‘forward’ looks a little bit different than it did 10 months ago.
We may need to scale back, care for each other a little more, and be a little more patient. But life isn’t stopping just because the way we lived it was forced to change. 2021 isn’t going to bring anything other than more uncertainty. So stop waiting. Stop holding your breath. (Trust me, breathing helps). Seek support. Offer more kindness. Keep moving forward. Future you will be glad you did.