I don’t know whether anyone’s told you lately or not, but you’re doing a great job.
You probably don’t feel that way, but under the conditions that’s understandable. You’ve been busy.
You’ve had your hands full.
Friend, take a second and think about what you’ve been through in the short span of the Spring:
You’ve dealt with an unprecedented health crisis that has paralyzed the planet.
With almost no warning, you’ve had to alter the way you do just about everything.
You’ve lost the ability to travel.
You’ve lost a good deal of income.
You may have even lost your job.
You’ve had to become a homeschool teacher.
You’ve had to become a primary caregiver.
You’ve had to become your own marriage counselor.
You’ve had to learn how to fix the dishwasher.
You’ve had to learn to cut your own hair.
You’ve had to search the dark web for toilet paper and then ration it like it was spun gold.
You’ve had to digest a relentless, ever-shifting barrage of news stories and expert recommendations and changing timelines and behavior restrictions.
You’ve had to experience birthdays and graduations and milestone moments you’d have never missed, through a jittery Zoom connection or a scratched phone screen.
You’ve had to grieve people you love dearly, from a distance and alone in a private funeral at your kitchen table.
You’ve been terribly lonely or you haven’t had a moment alone.
You’ve had to try and help your kids understand why they can’t go play with their friends, knowing it will still feel like a punishment to them.
You’ve sat with your sobbing teenager as the first breakup came at the absolute worst time.
You’ve had your faith shaken to its bedrock or may have lost your religion altogether.
You’ve watched your mental health deteriorate, as reality has become the nightmare you always imagined it was.
You’ve seen the death toll rise well beyond the worst of your fears when all this began.
You witnessed the absolute worst of humanity: hoarding pasta, berating grocery store clerks, protesting with weapons at capitol buildings, burning masks, calling 911 on people for simply existing.
You’ve watched more than one black man be murdered in the street.
You learned the levels of racism afflicting your family and your friendships and our leadership.
You’ve been reminded how fractured this nation is.
You’ve had to do all of it without a single hug.
The level of difficulty of your current life is a few steps above Batman.
So yeah, you’ve gained a few pounds or you’ve slacked on the meal planning, or you’ve let some stuff slide around the house, or you’ve ignored the shrubs, or you’ve missed sending that birthday card, or you’ve binged watched a few dozen shows, or you’ve served cereal for dinner and called it “Breakfast Night”—give yourself a damn break.
No, you’re not equipped for this and yes, you’re overmatched and overwhelmed—because this is a special kind of creative and historic hell that no one could have prepared for and no one is thriving through.
Everyone you live with or love or see from a distance or marvel at on social media, is pressed so far past their limits that they are often near tears. Everyone is so beaten down by all the unknowns, that their minds are exhausted from a million swirling contingencies and scenarios and possibilities. Everyone is working with Plan B (or Plan Q) at this point, and we’re all feeling like we’re floundering and failing.
It is enough right now to survive and to accept that as a victory.
You’re here and you’re somehow making the unworkable work: with the sub par dinners and the less-than-stellar haircut and the occasional tantrums from your child or your lover or yourself.
You’re MacGyver—ing a makeshift life from the odd assortment of stuff that you can cobble together around you, and honestly it’s a thing of beauty to behold.
So have a good cry or a piece of cake, go scream into your pillow or run around the block, toss up a prayer or drop an f-bomb—and then take a look around and survey your handiwork: the stuff you’ve made or the things you’ve fixed or the people you’ve cared for or the work you’ve done, and appreciate the duress under which you’ve managed it all.
One day you’re going to look back on these days and realize you weren’t a failure or a fraud or a lousy parent or a crappy partner, you’re going to see that you were a frickin’ superhero doing world-saving work in Kryptonite circumstances that should have leveled you but didn’t. You’re going to see that it was your finest hour.
And because you likely can’t see that right now, I wanted you to know that I see it in you.
So, yeah you’ve got a lot on your plate, but you’re making it work.
Life is not what you planned but it’s yours.
You’re doing great.