A Better Attitude in New Times

I’m like a balloon that loses its air over time. At first taut, all filled up with positivity and the commitment to avoid the horrible news and naysayers who remind me of all the unbelievably bad statistics. I can change the channel, I can teasingly order my negative friends to “talk to the hand” and eventually they retreat. Yet, a day or two later small dimples of deflation appear on my exterior; I feel myself weaken. It starts when I slip back into what I consider good and worthwhile reporting — BBC and PBS nightly news and my girl Rachel (as in Maddow). And once I get sucked back into the news, even my best resolve and restraint can’t help me hold onto a better, more positive attitude.

Before you know it, I’m eating English muffins with peanut butter before bedtime and am totally unable to cope with the simplest of tasks. My commitment to stay upbeat and positive flags. Deflated, I sink and then collapse.

What to do?

I pump my busted-flat self up slowly and the whole cycle begins again. I revisit my list of ways to stay sane in this crazy world – more meditation, activities that make me smile — but I find it hard not to fall back into the “all is lost” perspective. I feel like the commitment to things that uplift should last but it doesn’t.

COVID-19 will be insinuated into every decision we make about all aspects of our lives for many, many years to come. We’ll always have to plan for the eventuality of a virus resurfacing, wreaking havoc with everything we know and love. This crisis and all that comes with it is something few of us have experienced before. And we’re being told to prepare for subsequent waves of recurrence even as new cases flatten.

I don’t have a set plan for the best way to cope during this unrecognizable time.

Perhaps I’m expecting the impossible.

It’s impossible to sustain the current level of existence without succumbing to negativity every once in a while (read hourly). I’m looking for solutions to a world that has changed beyond my comprehension. After all, how can we compare today’s world with what it was just three months ago? Will our measurement of happiness ever be the same?

We are all experiencing a transition we neither chose nor embrace. This transition is going to require new ways of coping with anxiety, depression, and uncertainty. I wish I had a few solid suggestions for better ways to handle everything, but I don’t. It’ll be trial and error for me digging deep for solace when I wonder if I’ll ever get to hug again, or what I’ll do if Kali needs suddenly to go to the vet or I have an unexplained, but not virus-related, pain that requires a quick trip to the doctor.

I’m sure I can cope better and with less hysteria if I could see an end to this new world that has me sequestered indefinitely. Current conditions mean changes in how we go about our lives and, for many, how we live the last days of our lives. We’re in an unprecedented time of change brought on by a catastrophic microscopic bug, and the ramifications are endless. I wonder if perhaps we’re in a larger period of transition.

I won’t give up or give in

Here’s me pumping up my balloon:  I’ll continue to remind myself to embrace solidarity during this pandemic and to look for what will keep me sane and solidly participating in my altered life and focused on our ultimate global purpose. I will bolster a more positive attitude through a widening array of suggestions from friends and professionals. To stop is to give up, and I am not willing to give up.

Watch me rise above this challenge, even if only for a short while; join me if and when you can.