The right post, this time

I didn’t write the blog I needed to last week. I posted what I thought people want, a quick history of the thing, an anecdotal garnish, and an offering of optimism to close it out. That’s what people want in a blog, right? But it’s also what I do to counter my feelings.


When I realized I was missing the Dutch national celebration, a feeling rose in me. I was aware of it, quickly, and moved, quickly, to a response: blog about it, then onward to something else. Uncomfortable feeling, shunted into action, over and over. (Which is particularly weird when the uncomfortable feeling itself is a lack of any motivation for the next action.)


What I needed to do was feel. I love travel. I love guiding. I miss them. I miss feeling like I’m doing something, contributing, giving, and of course, earning a paycheck. All of these have attendant feelings. And I don’t need to rush past them to “handle” it via a diverting response, an “everything’s fine” face, and pretending I’m busy with consequential things. I’m not. I can sit with the sadness, fear, and longing, and I can accept them. That may be the most consequential thing I can do right now.


This Great Pause is trying to teach us something, and for me that lesson includes slowing down to feel things properly, instead of moving past them to responses right away. But that scares me. What if I get stuck? What if I bog down in self-pity? And besides, “Other people have it so much worse! How dare you be sad?”


So this might not be the blog you want to read. But it’s what I need right now. Because I am sad about the things I/we are missing out on, afraid of what might be coming, and worried about the meantime. I’m worried about all the education kids are missing, mourning the celebrations being cancelled, and sad for the joyous incidents that haven’t had the chance to happen.


I know they’ll be back. All of them. This will pass. Optimism and the upsides will be back. Hopefully soon. But that’s in the future, and I don’t need to race to it at the expense of being here, first.


And when I sit down and let myself feel the harder feelings, there’s something else there too. It starts as another heavy sadness, the awareness that I suspect a lot of people feel like everything is a bummer right now. But there’s more, because on the one hand the universality of this experience is heavy, but on the other, it’s one helluva shared experience. And that brings reassurance. Compassion. And connection. Exactly the things I’m craving.


So this is the blog I need to post today. With all its worry and reassurance, fear and compassion, sadness and connection. I can sit with them all. No need to rush through.

Emotion smaltz perhaps

Might be schmaltzy, and not exactly what I mean, but close enough.