I’ve been scared before — 9/11 and the day Trump got elected immediately come to mind. (I’m just talking world events here. There are plenty of things in my own life that have scared the shit out of me, but this isn’t about just me. This is about the bigger picture.)
Like both of those events, this one will have a permanent impact. The world is never going to be the same. People you care about could die. The way we go about our daily lives will change. Forever. That’s not hyperbole. That’s reality.
But what’s really setting off my panic buttons about all this? That’s a good question we should all be asking ourselves. If nothing else, knowing what we’re scared of can make a little bit of the fear go away. At least that's what the shrinks say.
Here’s a quick list of what’s keeping me up at night:
- I’m not so much scared of getting sick. I’m still young-ish. If I get sick, chances are good I’ll recover. I’m more scared about losing people who might not be able to recover.
- I’m scared about losing my job and living in the streets. With no Netflix.
- I’m scared by the mind-boggling thought of hundreds of thousands of people dying in a short span of time. Those stats just don’t make sense. Maybe because I won’t let them make sense.
- I’m scared to think about what the world might look like once this is all said and done. If it is ever all said and done.
- I’m scared Chipotle will shut down and never reopen.
- I’m scared I’ll never be able to go to another rock show or movie theater.
- I’m scared by people who hoard toilet paper. Seriously, toilet paper? The last thing on my mind in the middle of an apocalyptic meltdown is wiping my ass. Hoard some goddamned baked beans or canned meat for the love of survival! Who cares if you die with a dirty ass?! Stop it. Right now!!!! Thank you. There, I feel better.
- I miss sports. A lot.
- And I’m scared shitless by the lack of leadership at the top. Now more than ever we need the reassurance of a steady hand at the wheel. What we’ve got instead is an egotistical bully incapable of feeling an ounce of empathy and he's driving a crazy train off the rails at full-fucking speed. I don’t know about you, but I’d feel a whole hell of a lot better if we had someone in charge we could trust. Or at least somebody who gave a shit about something other than his own re-election.
That edge provides a buffer between what’s going on outside my door and what’s going on inside my head. I need that edge to survive. Without it, I’d go insane. Literally. Some days I wonder if that’s exactly what’s happening.
That edge has gotten me through a lot in my life. I hope it’ll be enough this time, too.
I think what’s got me so uneasy is so much of this is out of my control. Sure, I can stay home and wash my hands 398 times a day, but other than that, I just have to sit back and watch this thing run its potentially catastrophic course. The best thing I can do is hope for the best.
Maybe it’s not as big of a deal as my overthinking brain thinks it is. But I tend to believe the medical experts and scientists who say it is.
I was telling my wife the other night that I’ve felt something big coming on for a while now. I’m not a psychic or a conspiracy theorist, just an overthinker. For the past few years there’s been something in the air saying something isn’t right. The world has been way out of whack. The uncertainty is almost tangible. Maybe this is our wakeup call—a brutally blunt warning that we better do some reevaluating. Maybe this is the world’s way of correcting itself after being so off course for so long. What goes up, must come down, right? The boiling point has been reached. It’s tragic that so many lives will be lost while the planet tries to right itself. But that’s what it feels like is happening. At least to me.
So, where do we go from here? Great question. My plan is to do my best to take things one day at at a time. I’ll stay home and keep washing my severely chapped hands. I’ll have good days and days void of all hope, but they’ll even themselves out. I’ll keep my edge and try to stay strong. I’ll make more of an effort to be more positive, if for no other reason than to make it easier for my wife to live with me. I’ll do what I can. Because that’s all I can do.
And even though this is all scary as hell, I truly believe we’ll get through it. And I hope we’ll be better for it. Eventually.
I encourage you to find your “edge” and do what you can to get you and the people you care about through this. And remember to be nice to each other—from a safe distance of course—because we're all in this together. Like it or not.
Stay home. Stay healthy. And stop hoarding all the toilet paper. Assholes.