I’m sitting here and looking out the window, thinking about the last three years. What has changed since the start of the COVID pandemic, in early 2019, which now feels like ages ago?
I spent the first year of the pandemic mostly stuck in my apartment, with my walls for company and my screens for entertainment. I don’t usually watch things much (movies, TV shows, etc), but during the pandemic I got somewhat addicted to scrolling through nonsense on the internet and social media. I just had nothing to do with myself, and I was going insane.
Over the course of three years, I can say that I accumulated a lot of frustration and anger. Most of this came from just plain isolation - and I wrote about it in some of my posts. By the time I went back to some form of work with other people, and the kids in my preschools, I was noticeably traumatized by having had so few hugs, so few intimate conversations, and seeing so few smiles in such a long time. When my kids came to hug me, I actually had to work on myself not to shrink back.
What has happened to us, since COVID-19?
How many close, years-long relationships have you seen fall apart in the last three years? I’m referring to friendships as well as romantic partnerships.
How many countries in our world have experienced massive, sometimes unprecedented riots and demonstrations?
How many people are speeding on the freeway, falling into temper tantrums, even thinking about suicide - compared to three ears ago?
And what about the crime, especially violent crime?
Do you think this is a coincidence?
The way I see it, COVID is an opportunity: It has brought things to the surface that - let’s face it - have been waiting for ages to be addressed. The emotion that accompanies all of these is anger, just plain old human anger. COVID has also caused this anger to intensify, by locking us up with it for a couple of years and allowing the pressure to build.
So what now? What are we supposed to do with all this anger?
We are moving into the New Year now, a wonderful time for reflection. So I have a suggestion to make:
Take out a piece of paper. Write down all the fights, break-ups, and challenges you’ve faced with other people in your life over the last three years.
Now go, and find someone to talk to. Tell them about the challenges, the things you wrote, the situations you’ve been trying to navigate. It’s going to need to be someone you really trust, and whose opinion and advice you have respect for. And it doesn’t have to be only one person, either. But it won’t work if you choose someone who always agrees with you. This is going to have to be someone who loves you enough to be honest.
But get some perspective on what you’ve been going through. Because when we are alone, we are blind. Only others can see us clearly, including our blind spots. And we need to make up for a few years of going alone - by sharing our experiences.
On my end, I have found that some of the things I believed about myself and others have been completely in my head - the result of pent up emotions, just looking for an excuse to lash out. I call it a “reality check”. We could all use some of that right now.
And as for the anger, you had better be doing something about it. You cannot walk around with all this grime in your belly. If you think you’ve moved through this pandemic unscathed, I challenge you to think again. A quick look at the kids I work with in my preschool is enough to convince me that there is a lot of anger in the world right now.
So I propose we start the New Year with a simple question: What are you doing to heal from COVID?
And if you have children, what are you doing to help them heal?
Photo by Kade, Pexels.com