December 2020: 5 stories in 4 publications

2020 has been a long and difficult year.

What began as an isolated coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan turned into a global pandemic that left many of us stuck at home with nothing to do besides read books, watch TV, and grow facial hair to pass the time. And while COVID-19 has spared some countries, it has also hit others especially hard.

Altogether, there has been a massive loss of life around the world, with almost two million reported deaths so far. Unfortunately, given how many fatalities go uncounted, the true number is probably much higher, so much so that many people are feeling emotionally numb at what should be a festive time of year.

I’ve got a feeling

Indeed, given the collective trauma the world is going through, it’s not surprising that the pandemic is badly impacting our mental health. And even if you haven’t lost a partner, a parent, a sibling, or a friend, you’re probably still dealing with unaddressed emotions and unresolved grief.

So, instead of forcing yourself to be happy, embrace and express your emotions, no matter if it’s regret for the past, depression in the present, or anxiety about the future. And if you feel so overwhelmed that you can’t take it anymore, reach out and get the help you need.

Keep calm and carry on

Now more than ever it’s so important to connect with others, whether it’s your family or your friends. Yes, some people are understandably nervous about crowds and don’t want to attend large gatherings. (These should still be avoided in case they become superspreader events.) But you don’t have to suffer in silence when others care about you.

Ultimately, nobody knows when the pandemic will end. That means the best we can do is adapt for the long term while appreciating what we have right now. It’s much like W.G. Seabald writes in Austerlitz (also available on Audible):

The dead are outside time, the dying and all the sick at home or in hospitals, and they are not the only ones, for a certain degree of personal misfortune is enough to cut us off from the past and the future.

Live for today.

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The Eiffel Tower (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)
The Eiffel Tower (Copyright: Eugene Yiga)