I’ve had many conversations lately that have me or the other person saying something to the effect of, “At least it’s not as bad as…” or, “I shouldn’t complain, I have XYZ…” or, “So many people have it worse than I do.”
Yup. This is all true. Nearly everyone I know personally is incredibly fortunate, not just now, but all of the time. We are privileged. We will be ok. This part is very difficult, but we will be ok. It is important that we stay aware of how much more difficult it is for others and it is important for us to stay grateful for what we have. (Sidebar, Brene Brown has an incredible podcast on comparative suffering, check it out!)
It is also ok to mourn. Yes, MOURN, for what we are experiencing is grief. You can be grateful for all of the goodness that life is giving you right now AND be sad that:
-you don’t get to go on the vacation that you’ve been planning for months
-the job you imagined you’d been doing all spring looks very different from the job you’re actually doing
-every event that you’ve been planning for your non-profit is canceled for the immediate future
-all of your speaking engagements/appearances for your new book are postponed indefinitely
-your freelance theatre-teaching assignments aren’t happening
-you can’t hug your friends
Being sad about these things isn’t selfish, it’s human. And, as my dearest Maureen says: “This is my first pandemic.” It’s ok that you have no effing clue what’s going on right now.
You can acknowledge that you have it better than most (AND fight for those who have less than you) and acknowledge that you are mourning what you’ve lost as well.
It’s both/and, not either/or.
So, if you’re someone who needs it, you have permission to mourn all that’s lost. This is really hard stuff. Please be patient with yourself and your families, none of you know how to navigate this. Please ride the waves as they come. Please give yourself grace.
And when the JOY comes (which it will!) allow that as well.
I love you.