Are you feeling it every day? Of course, you are, no matter how old or how rich or how devoted or how strong, you are anxious, I am anxious, we are all anxious.
This came in my inbox yesterday from Delaney Rustin MD, the creator of Screenagers, “Focusing on what we can do-rather than what others are doing that annoys us-is key to bringing down our anxious feelings.” Her piece was titled Nerves on edge in your home which is just so relatable at this point in this pandemic/fire crisis/election craziness/racially unsettled period.
I woke up Monday morning after a nightmare where I was captive in a run-down concrete room with no exit. Sewage was running across the floor due to a piece I had just watched on 60 Minutes about the river of effluence which runs from Tijuana under the new border wall and into California where it flows into the Pacific Ocean. I woke up anxious, tired and not at all ready for a new week of distance learning.
Six months down, three to go
I started this countdown the first day of spring break, March 16, six months ago. It was kind of a random date but it was when I can first remember thinking, “Hey, this could get bad”.
But let’s try to be optimistic, in three months we will have a new president, a vaccine, a return to the classroom and hopefully the beginning of a very wet winter season (remember skiing?) plus an end to a very dry fire season. Oh, and the Kardashians are done which makes me very happy.
Let’s take a moment to think about what we’ve learned.
Bill Gates was right. If you haven’t seen the TED talk from April 2015, watch it now https://www.ted.com/talks/bill_gates_the_next_outbreak_we_re_not_ready?language=en then learn from it then let’s make a plan because Corona is not a one off. There will be future viruses which will cause future problems unless (remember the Lorax!). The Gates Foundation wants to save the world, let’s help or at least not get in the way.
But don’t just prepare for the next virus, how about playing the long game when it comes to all the other stuff. Forest management, infrastructure (especially PG and E), waste management, racism and hate (if I never have to think about, see, hear about, worry about, or throw-objects-across-the room because of a certain leader ever again I will be so much happier).
On Day 3 of the pandemic I suggested we all sleep till August, Day 16 was a plea for Help, Day 35 a prediction about Joe Biden which has totally come true (don’t be too impressed, the only thing I really got right was Kamala Harris as VP), rants about History and Empathy and the Jack of Hearts and my most successful blog on day 112 which I sent to Gavin Newsom and Tony Thurmond and Sundari Mase and two days later become the reality of distance learning. Actually, I said we should take the semester off but I also said I would not return to the classroom for hybrid learning because there is no way to keep all people safe.
Did you wake up this morning to no school, an empty classroom, students sitting in their rooms at home trying to learn while an apocalyptic sky turned day into night? I did and I have a little secret for you, it’s not good. Schools have done an amazing job of keeping students busy but I fear the amount of learning in the last 6 months is just not what it usually is. How could it be?
Corona has basically made us all about 25% dumber (yes, I made that percentage up). I can only go by my own example but I just don’t feel sharp anymore, my confidence is super low, my physical health is not great and my professional satisfaction is in the toilet because this all just suuuuuuuuccccccccks.
Oh, sorry, did I say that out loud. Apparently, my professionalism is also 25% impacted.
No one wants to relive Corona; we just want to move forward. This month’s Esquire is all about the virus and my copy went right into the recycling bin. History will not be kind to the last six months.
But what about the good things Corona has taught us?
Racial awareness, the door is open, let’s walk through it this time.
Virus awareness, Really, the plague was found in squirrels in south Tahoe? What!?!
Environmental awareness, if you still don’t believe in Global Warming, I have a great fixer upper for sale in Paradise, it’s only burned to the ground twice in the last two years.
Leaders-not-doing-their- jobs awareness, Obama was right, some people are not capable of doing the required work. Fortunately, some people are capable of doing the required work.
So where do we go from here? How about actual, not virtual, solutions. Upset over the election potentially being rigged, sign up here to be a poll worker https://sonoma.prod.simpligov.com/prod/portal/ShowWorkFlow/AnonymousEmbed/db726a8e-cc71-4864-a7ab-2823fa872684
Upset over the fires? Convince people climate change is real and here then study forest management then vote for leaders who have a better plan for California’s future (look no further than congressman Jared Huffman).
Upset that you can’t work or get a blowout or go have a beer? Patience young padawan, we are a lot closer than we were six months ago.
Just listen to Delaney and focus on what you can do.