This post was originally shared on my Facebook page.
Good evening, friends.
I think for many of us, it’s starting to settle in that we’re in for a marathon, not a sprint. Today, Oregon Governor Kate Brown extended the state’s school closures through April 28th. Today is also the day that Oregon’s closure of dine-in restaurants and bars went into effect. Thousands of Oregonians, my brother included, are now either out of work or very near. McMenamin’s, a local brewpub and hospitality chain, is laying off 3,000 workers. It’s a temporary measure so the workers can immediately claim unemployment, but still–this is huge.
I’ll be honest: I’m feeling the weight of this today. I’m seeing clients via video chat and suspecting that I may not see them face-to-face again for a long time. There’s an enormity to this. A pandemic is beyond the human comprehension in so many ways: it is spread by invisible viruses, an effective response looks like an overreaction, and it connects us all, on a scale so much greater than we can grasp. Add to that the huge uncertainty in what comes next, the disappointment in our leaders and the decades-long decimation of our social fabric, and… oof. Yeah. I’m gonna need a good cry tonight.
Part of being in it for the long haul means recognizing that our emotions are likely to run the gamut. This isn’t like an afternoon of protest, where you’ll be driven by one or two primary feelings. This is very likely going to be part of the fabric of our lives for months. You’ll feel calm and capable for a while, you’ll feel worried or stressed or anxious, you’ll feel angry, you’ll feel hopeful, and, yeah, you may also just feel depressed. Despondent. Overwhelmed.
That’s normal. And if we expect it, we don’t need to be surprised or disappointed when we or the people we love run into it.
I don’t have much to give tonight, and that’s okay. One of my favorite quotes goes, “You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.” In the coming months, we’re all going to have times when we’re tapped out. If this pandemic is a marathon rather than a sprint, then it behooves all of us to practice taking care of ourselves just as much as we would anyone else, and falling back when we need to regroup.
When you’re rested and ready again, there’s good work to be done as we march toward a brighter future together.
Dream big and fight hard,
Your buddy Spencer