Comfort in Times of Trouble

I haven’t been sure what to write about today. I want to offer my readers words of wisdom or something comforting, but I’m not sure I have anything original to say.

I’ll start by asking everyone to take a deep breath and remember our shared humanity. That is, remember that everyone is stressed and concerned. Everyone is anxious about what is to come. This is the time to remember what we have in common and treat one another with some extra compassion and perhaps trot out our long-unused manners.

I was at the grocery store this morning, and one of the store employees recognized me from my job at the library. She heard the library is closing for two weeks, and she’s worried about late fines on her children’s books. Since she works an hourly job as a cashier, late fines can really harm her family’s financial security.

English isn’t her first language, so I was trying to explain about the book drop on the exterior of the building. I was also telling her that I think fines will be waived.

We were standing a bit apart, which is wise right now when we’re being told to keep six feet from the people around us. That meant we were taking most of the aisle for our conversation.

Some guy decided he really had to drive his cart between us at that exact moment. And he hit me with the damned thing as he did.

Folks, do NOT be that asshole.

I should have grabbed his fucking cart and rammed it back into his genitalia. But I was so shocked by his behavior that I didn’t even say anything. Next time, I hope I’m not frozen in place and call out boorish behavior when it happens. There’s no excuse to be that asshole in the aisle with no toilet paper.

We already know we should be washing our hands and keeping our distance from others at the store, on public transportation, and so forth. We also know we should stay home if we’re sick. And I hope we’re all taking those precautions.

Because so many social events like sports, plays, and concerts are being curtailed, I think we’ll all find ourselves wanting human contact in the coming days and weeks. Yes, we need to limit social activity, but humans are also social animals and we need to interact with other people.

This would be a good time to get back into the habit of writing letters, sending emails, and calling loved ones and friends. While those tools can’t take the place of face-to-face contact, they can help us remember that we aren’t alone.

This is also a great time to break out your tabletop games, jigsaw puzzles, and gaming systems for family connections.

Or maybe you could start a new hobby like painting or macrophotography.

Perhaps it’s a good time to catch up on your reading or learn a new language. Or maybe it’s just time to dig into that closet that you’ve avoided cleaning out and get it organized.

It’s also a good time to leave reviews for your favorite books, songs, albums, and so forth. If you really want to make a creative person’s day, take the time to send them an email or give their work a boost on social media.

Trust me when I say that creative people will face a lot of issues because this pandemic. Many will see their shows, concerts, or literary events canceled or postponed. Often, that means a cut in income. It could also affect their ability to provide healthcare coverage for themselves and their families.

This is also a scary time to be an empathetic, creative person. All the anxieties and stress make creative work harder. If you’re a creative person, allow yourself to feel whatever feelings you have. Perhaps talk to a trusted friend or mental health professional if you need one.

If you find yourself struggling to create, don’t beat yourself up over it. Do what you can to meet any deadlines you have, but also remember that a lot is in flux. Perhaps those deadlines can be adjusted.

If you’re creating at a manic pace to cope, please remember to practice self-care. It’s great that you have a burst of energy, but don’t push yourself until you’re sick.

If you have any other self-care tips or suggestions on how to weather this pandemic while keeping our sanity, senses of humor, and manners intact, please drop me a note. I’d love to hear from you.

(Photo by loly galina on Unsplash)

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