A couple of weeks ago, I tweeted the question,
If you had known in March 2020 the extent of the pandemic, you couldn’t change the trajectory but you knew for sure what it would be, what would you have done differently?
My answer was, I would have upgraded my home office situation right away instead of waiting until November. I figured it was a waste of money since I was “only working from home temporarily.”
Some people were practical like me, saying they would have gotten refunds on trips for that summer before they lost their deposit. Some said they would have purchased stock in things like Zoom or toilet paper.
Some shared that they would have treated the pandemic like a “marathon and not a sprint.” A few mental health professionals pointed out the connection between long-term “survival mode” and burnout, which caused me to reflect on my own relationship with burnout over the past 18 months. If my approach had been, “How do I live with this new normal?” instead of “If I can just make it through a few weeks like this, it will all be over,” I do wonder how my own mental health might have been affected.
Then there were some truly heartbreaking responses. Things like (paraphrased), “I would have begged my grandpa to take lockdown more seriously before he got sick,” and “I wouldn’t have hosted the family gathering that my asymptomatic brother attended.”
Fast forward to the present. How do we shift out of survival mode, grieve what we have lost, and continue to exist in a pandemic?
I don’t have a good answer for this – I’m still working on it for myself! But it is an important discussion to have. How do you grieve something that is still happening? How do we shift into a more sustainable mindset when we have been in crisis for so long?
Obviously none of us can change what we did last March. But what do we want to start doing differently now?