How To Be Okay Not Being Okay

I'm laughing at my former self, who sent out a newsletter with Slow Living Tips.

Here we are, a month into the stay-at-home order in Illinois, and I have a whole new perspective on this slow living thing. Turns out slow living feels much better when it exists in a world that continues to move quickly outside my front door. So, my slow living tip for this month of forced, global shutdown is this:

It's okay to not be okay with the slow life you're currently forced to live.

You don't need me to tell you this, of course. But maybe it helps to hear it from someone outside of your own head? If it does, I have some more messages for you during this global pandemic:

It's okay to struggle right now.

Even if you are enjoying privileges like sheltering safely at home, keeping your fridge stocked, and getting items delivered so you don't have to venture out. It is still okay to not be okay.

It's okay to feel guilty about struggling right now.

Maybe you aren't risking your life as an essential worker. Maybe you're home and healthy with your children, binge watching movies and eating snacks. Yet maybe you're still having a really hard time. It's okay. There is no minimum hardship required to legitimize your struggle during a global pandemic. It's okay to feel desolate as you eat popcorn and rewatch your favorite shows. This is hard for everyone, and that includes you.

It's okay to be hyper-productive right now. And it's also okay to go into sloth-mode.

I can't eye roll hard enough at all the productivity articles circulating, because this is not the time to tell anyone what they should be doing. Your job is to survive the pandemic. Period. But we all cope in our own ways. Maybe it helps you to take on a huge product and share it with the world. Renovate away, my friend. But maybe you feel paralyzed and it takes everything you've got to change out of your morning pjs and into your daytime pjs before noon, and that's okay, too.

It's okay to drop all of your standards right now.

Screen-time limits. Personal hygiene. Diet. Attitude. Tone of voice. All bets are off. If your house is filled with greasy-haired, pajama-wearing, potato chip-eating yellers who spend most of their waking hours transfixed by the glow of various screens, it's all good. This season won't last forever, and you are doing great

There will be a return to normal.

It will be a new normal, but we will make plans again. Maybe we'll dance longer at weddings, and write more heartfelt birthday cards. Maybe we'll let our conversations with friends linger a bit longer. Maybe we'll smile at strangers, and be more patient with everyone, including ourselves.

When the twin burdens of fear and uncertainty are lifted, when we have come through to the other side, things will be different, of course. But life will resume. We will mourn those we've lost. We will mourn the milestones we didn't get to celebrate, and the goals we abandoned. We will process our grief, and that in itself will be hard. But this season will end, and normal life will resume one day.

Until then, it's okay to not be okay.

April 18, 2020 — Lori Oster

Comments

Susan

Susan said:

I forgot to mention how beautiful and perfect all your photos to communicate the deep meaning in your writing.

Susan

Susan said:

I love this so much! I must share on my FB page so more see it.

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