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November 30, 2020

I haven’t written about the pandemic in a long time. It’s been going on now for about a million years. You’ve either figured out how to deal with it, or you’ve been suffering mightily (for any number of reasons). Or, something in between. In addition to health threats, loss, disruption, hardship, it’s just hard to be so removed from normal life.

I realized today that since the very first moments of covid awareness, mask-wearing, social distancing and stay-at-home orders, way back in mid-March, I’d been deeply immersed in all manner of election-related stuff–both for national races as well as a local campaign. My days have been filled with Zoom meetings, special events, advocacy (phonebanking, texting, postcarding, lawnsigns, lit drops, demonstrating, marching, rallying) organizing, creating, task and volunteer management… all mixed with angst, overwhelm, frustration, dread, but also community, camaraderie, great energy, steep but manageable learning curves, and a great sense of advancing a cause. Plus: Peter’s college graduation and move across the country, some home improvement projects, a camping trip, two hiking trips, countless photo walks, relearning to cook… plus keeping up with regular daily life, daily blogging, etc. Pandemic life has been, I guess, kinda full.

Now, not so much. The last three weeks, since the election, have been blissfully less busy. And now with Thanksgiving over, today (Monday) I felt like I had been sucked into a vortex. I entered this weird space of nothing.. nothing really to do. I actually have plenty to do –stuff I haven’t done in months, projects that have languished, another holiday coming. But, suddenly, it just felt depressing. By the time late afternoon rolled around, I felt like I’d lost all inspiration. I was aware that I needed to just put one foot in front of the other and make myself do things. I could literally feel the oppressive weight of zero motivation. It made me feel very anxious. I thought, whoa.. I’d better be thinking about life, about purpose, about where that spark will come from. It was slightly disturbing and a lot lonely. It’s definitely not the first time I’ve felt this, but today felt weightier, palpably heavy.

Then at about 6:00, Peter called (FaceTime). He was out on a long walk in a lot of snow. That’s pretty new for him. He’s been in snow, but not much. He certainly hasn’t lived in it. He was slipping around on ice, laughing, pointing his camera at impressive views of wintry scenes for us to see, talking a little about a presentation he’d given earlier, and a lot about snow.

We talked for about 45 minutes then he wanted to continue his walk without us, as he was enjoying being out alone in the snow in the dark. How ’bout that. The conversation with him was such a lift. [Note to self: boy needs boots and a real winter coat.]

Then a couple of nice text conversations with friends; then, funnily enough, a 90-minute Zoom meeting with IndivisibleYolo which involved over twenty folks reflecting on the last eight months, what’s to come in the next month, and plans for next year. It was amazingly validating.

So here’s what I figured out: Connection. People. Purpose. As much as I was desperate to be done with all the election stuff, as much as I wanted great gobs of clear calendar space and nothing to do, I realize that isn’t very sustaining. The last few weeks have been a weird mix of boredom and bliss, elation and anxiety, and not much tying it all together.

I’m not sure what that will look like going forward, but I can see there will need to be something purposeful in there.

Not earth shattering, but revealing. A good reminder.

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