State of the Nate
Today marks three weeks since I have been in close contact with anyone outside of my own household. We got home from a funeral on Sunday night, and I started running a fever around midnight. I called in sick to work all that first week and was told by my doctor to work from home for two weeks if possible. Then our entire organization started working from home and here we are.
Like everyone else I've been going through what I've been calling the ugly rainbow of emotions:
- hot red anxiety
- sickly yellow stress
- frantic white-on-black panic
- dull gray lethargy
- dark black depression
- old-TV-static lack of focus
The whole lot. It's been rough and will probably get rougher for the next little while.
But right this minute I'm okay. I'm trying to protect myself emotionally as well as physically. I've been outside a lot; mostly in my back yard. I've started jumping on our trampoline, something I haven't done in decades. And I've taken a few neighborhood walks, making sure of course to keep six feet away from anyone else and just smiling and nodding from a distance.
I've been forcing myself off of my favorite news sites; they are just contributing to my stress and panic. I do want to know what's going on, but there's really not much I can do beyond what I'm doing. I've set myself a limit of five minutes per day for social media (other than Mastodon, which is already self-limited by the fact that I follow only a select few people).
And, like social distancing itself, my mental health measures have been helping in small ways. I'm seeing the colors in our world more brightly because I have time to spend looking at them. The flowers in the neighborhood are starting to come up, even though its still cold, and they are beautiful. I've been reaching out to friends and co-workers to play games online and the laughter that we share in these moments is more precious than gold.
I've been spending more time listening to and talking to my kids. My regular commute is over an hour each way. Right now my commute involves opening a door. I can dart out of my “office”, give some hugs, laugh at some jokes, and dash back to my desk for the next meeting.
I know that I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm young (enough), healthy (enough), my job isn't (currently) at stake or furloughed. I have a safe place to live (unless the next earthquake is bigger than the one last week) and I am happy in my family relationships. I hope you are in a similar situation, but I know many of you aren't.
I am a man of faith and honestly believe that fasting and prayer can bring blessings not just for me but for the world, and I am fasting and praying for you all. I am also looking for ways to help more directly, but—as lucky as I am—my spare income is small right now.
I hope we all get through this and return to a happy life, perhaps a happier and more connected life, when we are free to return to each other's society.