Sunday, 12 April 2020

Mentally Processing 2020

My favourite analogy for what is going on just now is that humanity has been dumped.

You know when you're on the receiving end of a breakup and you don't see it coming, and it is with someone you have been seeing for long enough that you kind of have a life together at least half-assedly mapped out in your head.

Your spending plans are tied to them. Your social plans. Your happiness. Your sense of who you are. Your sense that you can trust how things will be from one day to the next, derived from how things have been between you and them each day until now.

That's what happened to us all last month.  We were breezing happily along, suddenly the virus hit us like an "it's over between us" to everyone in the land all at once.

For the first few days of working from adjusting and switching to working from home or travelling in a zombie apocalypse, it was like the moments and days after a relationship breakup. Blinking, unsure it's quite real, wondering if they might just change their mind and this whole thing will be a horrible moment of staring into the void but then won't be so bad after all.

And all those ways we measure and plan and know ourselves fell apart.

So it makes sense you can't focus on your work properly.  Where normally feeling like this you'd fall back on your friends to reassure you of things, you can't see them or go to a pub and grouch about what has happened.  All those good things to do like taking up a new hobby that involves getting out of the house and meeting new people, getting drunk in a bar and dancing near strangers, or going away someplace new for a change of scene - nope. 

And this time whoever you are, you aren't one of the lucky, pretty, confident things that outside of analogy-land bounce straight into a new relationship in next to no time. Damn their eyes.

Inside I wonder how many of us are even at the equivalent point to that day however many weeks or months after being dumped by a serious love where you have mostly stopped crying?

This month before us is the time when you want there to be your love next to you and there is no-one. You want to make plans to go away together in the summer, to move to a new place together, to have them there to talk to and to be company when you need to share how your day was or on a day out in the Easter Bank Holiday sunshine.

We can't make plans for our new life yet. We have to stay home and will naturally tend to focus on what we lost.

Because we are grieving the life we all thought we'd have this spring, like we'd grieve the life we thought we had with someone that they suddenly snatched away from us.

And we're crushed and we're cross and we just want to hit fast forward and be past all this.  Normally we all know someone who's feeling like that but instead every single one of us is going through it at the same damn time.

On top of which a growing number of us have the non-metaphorical grief of loss to deal with as people we love die at the hands of the plague that our former life left us for.

This is why I'm trying to be more kind to myself than normal, more willing to accept that I have days where I just feel like I failed, and to extend the same to others. We are all shambling round shellshocked from being dumped by a partner we didn't even know we had: the 2020 we thought we were going to be living with.

We can get through this. Let's not beat ourselves up along the way.

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