Some people are good at taking care of themselves. If you’re one, I admire and secretly envy you. (Right… that’s not what you said about them this morning!) Amid the stress and craziness of turning your life upside down, working from home, and being isolated and almost never alone—both at the same time—you’re going for walks and taking mental health breaks every day. I decided to give it a try a couple of days ago, so I took a 15-minute break. When I got back to my desk, there were nine emails, four texts, and two voicemails screaming for my attention. That was an epic fail!
I shouldn’t complain. I’m sitting at a desk in our living room. I have people I love just a few feet away (again, not what you said earlier today when Becky destroyed the headset you used for business calls). We’re safe, healthy, comfortable, and don’t need anything (except a new headset). We’re very blessed in every respect. Sometimes I need to be reminded, so:
- When I feel overwhelmed by the enormous amount of work I have to do every day, I think about how overwhelmed the healthcare providers in NY City hospitals must feel as they face an endless procession of patients infected with COVID-19.
- When I’m frustrated by the lack of guidance available for the hastily-written state and federal laws and mandates, I imagine how frustrated doctors and nurses must feel, watching helplessly as people who were healthy a week or two ago succumb to Coronavirus.
- When I start to complain about my cramped workspace in the corner of our living room, I think about how some hospitals are renting refrigerated trailers because they don’t have enough room in their morgues.
It’s humbling to think about medical professionals and first responders—whose jobs are impossible under the best conditions—working in situations and under circumstances that make their work incalculably more impossible, with no end in sight. It gives me the perspective necessary to recognize that the things that overwhelm, frustrate, and constrain me are, at worst, nothing more than minor inconveniences. As the days grow into weeks of social distancing and performing every aspect of my life within the walls of my house, that perspective will remain priceless.
Lastly, I want to say thank you to everyone who took a few minutes to reach out to me after last week’s Fridays with Frank. When I shared how the incredible changes of the previous 168 hours had affected me, my intention was to reassure my friends that they were not alone. What I didn’t expect was so many of you reaching out with words of friendship, encouragement, and support, and to let me know I wasn’t alone. Thank you. I appreciate your friendship more than I could ever express.
I can’t even begin to imagine what the coming week will throw our way. What I do know is, with the right perspective, the help of my friends, and a new headset (I KNEW YOU WERE STILL MIFFED ABOUT THE HEADSET!), I’ll be able to handle it all.
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