Month: March 2022

Pandemiversary 2

I almost missed it, which already makes clear how very different this year is from last year when I watched the pandemiversary coming for weeks and pondered how to properly mark the occasion. This time I was too busy to watch for the arrival of the specific day. Too busy weathering the ongoing massive/pervasive shifts in how the world functions. Too busy wondering whether the rush to declare pandemic over is reasonable or foolhardy. Too busy trying to keep half a dozen projects moving forward simultaneously in the hope that I can begin to replace the income we lost because of all the projects we didn’t do in 2020 and half of 2021. I only remembered to notice the day because I saw a tweet at 11pm. Then I didn’t get this post written until the next day.

Is the pandemic over? Only time and statistical analysis can really say for sure. Opinions vary wildly. My own opinions vary wildly from day to day depending on which direction my anxiety is leaning. One thing I am certain of, I am tired. I would dearly like to finish some of these projects I’m pushing forward. I would like to feel more stable and secure. It would be very lovely if one of the things that moves into the “finished” category is the pandemic. But I don’t actually control that. Alas.

But for future reference, here is a list of ongoing pandemic-caused effects in my life:

  • Soy Sauce Flavored ramen has been unavailable for two months. Store shelves regularly have gaps where the store has been unable to re-stock an item. I vaguely remember that prior to the pandemic, this didn’t happen. There is plenty of food in the stores, but not always the foods that are on my list.
  • Worker shortages abound. We once ordered a pizza that never arrived because the store was so understaffed that they couldn’t keep up. Another time we had to pick up the pizza because there was no delivery driver. Wait times everywhere are longer. Customer service is less available. I’ve learned to be extra patient and to lower my service expectations.
  • Gas prices are higher than they have ever been before in my adult life. Yes, some of this is caused by Putin’s war on the Ukraine and economic sanctions, but much is because production was shut down because of the pandemic and then production couldn’t be brought back up to prior levels because of worker shortages.
  • Food prices are going up too. And the rent on my warehouse. The increase in the property value on our house means that property taxes are going to hit us hard this fall. Every bill, every expense, I wonder not if it is going to go up, but by how much.
  • Everyone I know has spent some time in the past few years re-evaluating their priorities and reconfiguring their lives. This is going to take several more years to shake out.
  • I am both heartened by the way I see many people showing up for each other and being good, while also being saddened and discouraged by the lack of empathy displayed by other people.

Even if the pandemic is “over” in terms of infectious illness filling up hospitals and causing deaths, we still have years of adaptation ahead of us in coming to terms with everything that has permanently changed and everything that is still in the process of shifting.

Navigating Jealousy

Several times in recent months I’ve had moments where I felt jealous. Usually it happens when a friend is celebrating a big success in an arena (parenting, publishing, etc.) where I’ve been struggling. Then I’m left with a hard pile of emotions to juggle because I have to figure out how to both honor my own feelings and to share in the joy of my friend. It helps when I recognize that jealousy is like anger in that it is a secondary emotion. When I peel away anger or jealousy I discover that what I actually feel is hurt or grief. Usually the source of grief is wholly unrelated to the person I’m feeling jealous of. When I see the grief for what it is, I am better able to hold it separate from my joy for my friend’s triumph. Then I can aim the shared joy toward my friend and process the jealousy/grief in a space where it won’t impact their celebration.

This year is a minefield of potential grief for Howard and me because this is the year when we are feeling the financial and emotional pinch from the projects we were unable to work on in 2020-21 because of Howard’s Long Covid. We did a lot of creative work during that span of time, but it was mostly focused on life-adjustment rather than saleable creative output. This year we’re in production mode. We’re producing work which will hopefully mean that the during second half of 2022 and all of 2023 we’re releasing things and moving forward with additional new things. Being in a more stable place ourselves will help my immediate reaction to the success of my friends be solely joyful rather than tempered by private grief.

Until then, I remind myself that jealousy is a natural response to circumstances beyond my control and I’m accountable for what I do with the feelings that show up in my head, not for the fact that they’re there.