On March 9th, I finally gave in to the demand that I go home. I’d been resisting the whole thing. Why? Because I didn’t want it to be true of course. But, finally, Mark Manson made a good argument. So, I updated my servers, packed some stuff, said “so long and thank you for all the fish” to the only other person who was still in the office, and headed home.
I took to remaining in my jammies all day. I only swapped the pants when I went for my walks. Shower? Who needs a shower when there’s no one to smell me! And the webcam is never going to show me at my best, why bother with makeup? I roamed the apartment looking out the window wondering if this was some sort of trick. It simply couldn’t be true. My stomach acid flourishing with glee.
Yep, I was just like everyone else.
I started seeing this meme pop up everywhere. It’s hilarious. Why? Because it’s so true!
After about 2 weeks of “Life in Jammies”, I said “fuck it”. I’m going to dress every day. So, I started dressing like I would when I went to work. And I started feeling a bit better. I realized that just choosing my clothing and getting dressed like it matters is an Act of Hope.
I don’t know about you, but this virus makes me think that maybe, just maybe, the world’s coming to an end. At least as we know it.
It’s a novel virus. We don’t know what the damn thing is going to do. How it’s going to mutate. How it will affect us. Especially since we’ve been hearing all sorts of conflicting reports.
We are in a state of uncertainty. It’s not like the cases of “will I get that job” or “will he look like his picture on Tinder.” No, it’s ongoing, relentless, and despite the desire of POTUS to get everything back on track again, it doesn’t look like it’s even thinking about finishing.
This is one time where I wish one person’s desire could fix something. “Hey! You! Virus! The President of the United States said that we’ve had enough of your sickness and death. You are commanded to get your butt back to whatever glacier you came from so we can all get back to work!” Virus bows head, “Okay.” Leaves in shame.
We have uncertainty, fear, and existential dread, and we have it over time. This can do a tap dance on anyone’s hope for the future. I know there’s a part of me who wonders why I’m still testing that mobile app for my company. Part of me thinks “why bother?” It’s especially hard when I have to write so many bugs that I think are stupid. That should have never gotten to me.
But this is a state of hopelessness, and no good comes from that. I know that it’s not just mental problems that I have when I feel hopeless, I also start shutting down physically. Several of my organs have been acting up. And yes, I can feel my organs. It’s not just my stomach. It’s also my bladder, lungs and heart that are acting up. I’m okay. Thankfully, I have energy medicine. I know how to soothe myself. The last thing I want is to have to go to the doctor right now. Plus, I don’t know if I’d even call a doctor. In many ways, I fear doctors and hospitals more than death.
Hopelessness can also cause other problems. I’ve read books and seen movies where there was a situation that was hopeless. People thought, “Well, if it’s hopeless, I’m going to do whatever I want!” And then they partied like it was 1999. Doing drugs and playing Russian Roulette. Being self-destructive. And then the meteor completely misses the planet and all that self-destructiveness was for nothing.
I think that hopelessness is a factor in all those college kids going on Spring Break, or whole congregations going to church, despite warnings. They tell us “God will protect us.” Or, for the college students, they may think their young and immortal. But I think that’s not quite the truth. They want to believe it. They are willing to risk in order to hold onto the belief. Of course, God, in the form of scientists, have given them the information, but still they risk. “Christians don’t fear death.” Well, yeah, but does it have to be NOW? I think it’s hopelessness that drives them to church, or the beach.
Acts of Hope
Hope is a tender thing. It’s not big or flashy. It’s not a demand given to God to do something. It’s not expecting God to intervene when you’re taking a risky action.
Hope is small. Hope is a release into what is. Hope is trust. Hope is a light tempered by the awareness that things may go badly. Hope is not an action. You can’t hope yourself into what you want. Hope is a state of mind. It’s an acceptance, a knowledge of reality, and a way of being.
When I started dressing every day, I was performing an Act of Hope. There is a reason to dress appropriately. It’s a symbol. It says “yeah, I’m stuck in this damn apartment, but I have faith that there is light at the end of the metro tunnel.”
I tell this to my Jammie-clad co-workers and they’re like “Right, Karin. Whatever you’ve got to do.”
Yes, it is whatever I have to do. What do I, Karin, need to fan that little flame of hope? I’ve been thinking about it. What I have so far is, for me:
- Dressing every day
- Allowing a little bit of chocolate in the afternoon (this was a big deal for me)
- Exercise and long walks
- Lay down and watch the tree through my window when I’m tired
- Energy Medicine
- Planning for the Future, and taking what steps I can take NOW
- Learning new things/Taking classes
Most of this I do every day anyway, there’s no reason to not do it just because I may never leave the house again.
By doing this, I tell my system, my body and mind, that there is hope for the future. Maybe they can calm down and quit causing me problems.
I’m still figuring it out. It’s often hard, part of me still feels hopeless. So what if my bathtub needs to be cleaned! But I try to motor through it anyway.
My question to you is: “What small thing, if you gave it to yourself, would make you feel a little bit more hopeful?”
Now, how about close down your computer, and go do it!