2020, be gone! Disease, othering, civil unrest—uncivil in the extreme—ill will between neighbors... Some say the world will end in fire, some say in ice.
My pandemic burden: unemployment, just when I thought I was going to be embarking on an awesome, late life Act IV of my career. I feel suddenly old, my sense of purpose and identity and passion all tied up in work that I’m no longer doing. My city is bruised, edgy like it used to be when I was young. Yesterday, I walked by two men fighting bitterly over an especially large cache of empties, each claiming rights to their picking turf. It broke my heart.
But. The merry-go-round that was making me dizzy and exhausted and stressed has ground to a halt, and I’m not unhappy about that. Nowhere to go. No one to answer to. Didn’t I dream this? Nor am I unhappy about pairing down. If I never buy anything but groceries again, my life will be just fine. Social anxiety? Gone. With my social life, but oh, well.
My pandemic life is a dystopic be-careful-what-you-wish-for. Changing from foul to fantastic and back again, like a traffic light.
I feel for my friends working overtime in front of a screen, and for my former colleagues teaching their students under dysfunctional conditions while simultaneously managing their own kids’ pandemic schooling. I also envy them their jobs, their focus, their success in making the unworkable work—and, well, just their success, period. I want to work again. But not at a breakneck pace. Been there, done that.
Every day, I’m grateful for the roof over my head, the food in my belly, the health of my loved ones... and the pandemic lull I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy. I want this annus horribilis to be over for all of us, but the pressure to perform is off, and I like how it feels. I'm scared of the return to full-throttle life, post-pandemic.
Image: Picasso "Femme Couchée Lisant"
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I've been blogging since 2010. When I've got writer's block in every other way (frequent), this low stakes riffing to think has been a constant. Over the digital years, I've had a half dozen or so blogs including a travel blog and a reading blog, both on Blogger, and an all-purpose blog on tumblr where I wrote about education, social equity and anything else that sparked me. I also posted some of my published print work on my website. My shit is all over the internet. I'll be using this space for the occasional blog post, now.