Updated: Sep 3, 2020
Much has been written about the effect of the pandemic on our feelings of productivity. Some people don't feel as productive working from home while others have written a novel (my sister in law!). I, too, have struggled with days of crushing the To-Do list, and days where I can't recall what I did since getting out of bed. Being high-risk exacerbates these feelings as most of us are staying home - every. single. day. There is little to break the daily routine and feelings of productivity.
Initially, I didn't share my frustration of feeling unproductive. Finishing my job each day felt skimpy compared to the vast expanse of free time available during the shutdown. I should finish this website! I should write more! I should read more! Should. Should. Should.
Then, six weeks into the shutdown, a number of women in my Bible study shared that they felt "directionless". I listened as friend after friend beat themselves up over how many closets they hadn't cleaned out, how few new skills they mastered while being home. It saddened me to hear their dissatisfaction, how they wished they weren't so Type A. These amazing women were cutting themselves down during a pandemic. And I was one of them.
So I penned this letter to them and by default, to myself:
Perhaps another way to think about how we can "be better" during this pandemic is to consider that just "be-ing" is the best version of ourselves right now. Maybe we should stop criticizing ourselves for being Type A. Stop wishing that we weren't accomplishing something at all times. Let's drop the narrative that you need to learn how to be more Type B or Type Whatever. Because let's face it, when this is over, you're going to go back to being your excellent Type A self.
And isn't that wonderful?
Perhaps your most significant accomplishment of this pandemic will be that you made it through. Yes, you learned some new recipes, but you didn't master Mandarin. Yes, you organized your closet, but you didn't alphabetize your child's baby photos. You had good days with your family, but you also had some rotten ones. Really rotten ones. But you made it through.
Remember when our grandparents shared stories about the Great Depression? I don't recall my grandmother talking about how much she accomplished during that difficult time. I remember her words of getting by. She shared a memory of splitting a milkshake with my grandfather on a date because that's all that they could afford - one milkshake. Playing cards with friends on a Friday was a big night. My grandmother shared stories of just "being."
Let's not judge who is doing this pandemic well and who is not. If you want to learn some new ways to be a better version of yourself, I say go for it. Just remember that when you get through this - however you do it - you will be successful and will have achieved something - you will have made it through. If you're a beautiful Type A who may not feel like her best, most productive self right now, that's ok. She'll be back soon enough.
And isn't that wonderful?