See what I did there? Because it’s 2020, and perspective is difficult to– never mind.
I’ve learned a lot this year, but one reality smacking me in the face daily is how much people seem to disagree on. I’m hoping one page we’re all on is that 2020 has been hard. Regardless of what side of the fence you’re on regarding an array of topics, life is inherently different, and it’s a tough adjustment.
I’ve been kind of candid in saying that 2020 had a rough professional start for me at a fresh January 14th. The weeks that followed were challenging for myself and my work family. Many tears were shed. Many f words dropped. It was a shit time. After a few weeks of wallowing though, you know what we started do?
We did that thing that everyone does.
We looked at our situation compared others, and we said, “It could always be worse.”
We it-could-always-be-worse’d (or ICABW’d, if you will) our way through January and February, and then in March, it was in fact, worse. This time, the wallowing extended beyond my desk and stretched across the world. Again though, those of us fortunate enough to still have healthy family, friends, and self said, “It could always be worse.”
And yes, it could. But… hear me out.
The past month of quarantine (and yes, I am still very much quarantined) has had me feeling exceptionally crummy. I’ve had a few glimmers of light in the form of getting to see people I love in short, hugless windows, only to come crashing down harder than ever when those windows close.
I’ve been trying to make sense of the onslaught of sadness, and after thinking long and hard, I’ve concluded that outside of the obvious, I think it could be a result of all the ICABW’ing I’ve done literally all year. All the sweeping of every negative thought or feeling under the rug because there are much bigger fish to fry. All the non-processing.
It could always be worse is not an excuse to be happy all the time. Just like it’s possible to have faith in God and see the science behind this virus, it’s also possible to empathize deeply with others and be sad about your own, sometimes lesser problems. Possible to feel grateful and hopeless at the same time. There’s no rule that says you’re only allowed to be sad/angry/fearful/anxious if you’re experiencing the worst case scenario. In fact, I think subscribing to that is not only a hindrance to our personal growth, but it keeps us from being strong pillars when our loved ones need to lean on us.
All this to say, self care isn’t always fresh nails, bubble baths and retail therapy. Self care can sometimes be as simple as letting yourself live in and sift through whatever shit you’re going through. And it’s totally possible to be wading knee deep in your maybe trivial problems and be a vessel for change and kindness. It could always be worse, but that doesn’t magically turn your sad stuff happy.
I hope this post finds you and yours well, and if not happy, at least trying to get there.
xoxo leigh ann