December 2, 2020

No One is Okay During a Pandemic (Even if they Say Otherwise).

We talked to our mom on the phone daily, FaceTiming with our friends replaced our usual Friday night happy hours, and we inundated our Amazon carts with stacks of books to keep us occupied for god knows how long.

We thought we were prepared for the two weeks-turned three months of lockdown measures that ensued due to the coronavirus pandemic wreaking havoc on the world back in March, unbeknownst to us that we would still be living this nightmare nine months later.

Unfortunately, there is no set game plan for how to handle a global health crisis. There are no books we can read that detail how to live in solitude with only our dogs and our Netflix queues to communicate with—and yes, Netflix, we’re still watching.

All of us are learning to navigate these unconventional times together, and although our friends and family are kindly checking up on us to make sure we’re “okay,” no one is okay.

No one is okay with being stuck inside with only the delivery guy to look forward to seeing all day.

No one is okay with the incessant fatigue that has taken over their bodies since regular activities have been forbidden until further notice.

No one is okay with having to turn their tiny apartments into a home gym, a makeshift office, an entertainment center, and the sacred space that it was originally reserved for because there is nowhere else to go.

No one is okay with abandoning their elderly parents or grandparents out of fear that they might contract this deadly disease all because we hugged them goodbye.

In many places, parks and outdoor recreation are prohibited, making walking outside and getting “fresh air” an oxymoron. How can we possibly enjoy a walk in the park when there is a grueling, take-no-prisoners, fatal virus looming in the air? A virus that has sickened millions and killed thousands in no specific order or care toward age, gender, or occupational status.

If anyone says they are okay with all of this, don’t believe them.

We are all not okay. We have been collectively counting down the days since the first lockdown began, praying that another quarantine isn’t inevitable in the days ahead. We’re in an ongoing battle for our livelihood and our survival. This is probably the only instance where it is socially and ethically acceptable to assume that most human beings are having similar emotional reactions to the current situation in the world. We are all utterly disgusted, revolted, tired, and fed up with the coronavirus.

Even though the smile on our face may indicate that these times of isolation haven’t sent us in a downward spiral, on the inside, it’s clear we are hurting.

And we have every reason to be. Our lives have been disrupted. Our social circles have diminished. Our relationships with the outside world have been reduced to a computer screen. The uncertainty of our jobs is weighing heavily on us. And the term “COVID-15” makes us roll our eyes every time we reach for another cookie—which we deserve at this point.

We’re just pleading for this madness to end. But no one knows when it will. There are reports that a COVID-19 vaccine is on its way, but will it arrive in time for that 30th birthday getaway we booked in hopes that the celebration could forge ahead? Even though we’ve learned our lesson about making plans in advance after every outing we’ve attempted so far had been derailed by another COVID sickness, we still can’t abate all our dreams that sunny beach days and pool parties will one day return.

So, we book the flight, make the hotel arrangements, and cross our fingers that things will be better in the spring. That by then, when people ask us if we are doing “okay,” we can confidently and energetically say, “yes!” That by the time March rolls around, we will be sipping cocktails on the beach surrounded by our closest girlfriends, whom we’ve only been able to see from the neck up in video calls in recent months.

“Things will get better,” is what our mom always says at the end of our daily phone calls. We reluctantly believe her, but she also believes us when we repeatedly say we were doing “okay.”

No one is doing okay. Check in on loved ones. Don’t automatically ghost the nice guy from Bumble we lost interest in because we couldn’t meet face-to-face. Host virtual happy hours with friends, often. And please don’t mistake their smiles to mean that they’re not pulling their hair out after we hang up with them.

No one is doing okay, regardless of what they say.


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