“We’re all in the same boat.” That common greeting is supposedly reassuring in this Covid era. But an Ohio woman has a sage retort: “We’re all in the same storm, but we’re in different boats.”
What she means is that we’re afflicted by the pandemic in different ways. Two of her adult children have fled back home for safety. She may be envied by a boatload of other mothers who are unable to see their children because of the virus. On the other hand, having your offspring come home with their careers shipwrecked can add their anxiety to your own.
Someone who is out of work, and/or struggling for money to buy groceries, will think the couple locked down in their luxurious condo has it easy – unaware that the couple may have serious problems of their own, ranging from health to the marital stress of too much proximity. The truth is that pandemic stress mixes with the age-old human tendency to assume that the other person doesn’t have it as hard.
This was brought home to me when I was trying to get my latest book published and had to deal with invisible individuals who were working at home. Trying to make conversation with one editor, I listened as she complained how hard it was for her to work in a crowded household, since her siblings had moved in along with their young children. “At least you have company,” I said. “I’m alone.”
“You’re so lucky!” she said.
Amusing? Yes. But it made me realize how differently we view what we’re going through. I’m all too aware of the downside of living alone – no one to reassure me about the day’s (usually dire) news, or hold my hand after a difficult day of work, and so on. Yet if I view my “boatload” from a different angle, I see I have uninterrupted time to write, no obligation to stop work in order to make dinner for anyone, read all night if I wish, and so on.
The important question isn’t who has it better, but who is best at finding ways to survive fear and anxiety in this surreal time. So I’ve gone on a personal quest to find people who are buoying their spirits by getting involved in rewarding new activities or resurrecting youthful ones. The solutions differ, but they all stem from a desire to save ourselves from drowning in self– pity.
Next week you’ll meet one of these people: a woman who is filling her days with a meaningful project .
(Share your story! Send to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll publish the most interesting .)
BOOKS: COME and GO (NEW!)– available through BookBaby.com; WIDOW’S WALK –iUniverse.com; TURNING TOWARD TOMORROW –Xlibris.com, TEN WOMEN OF VALOR and ROLE PLAY – both available through CreateSpace.com and Amazon.com; also Amazon Kindle.