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Blog Post March 24, 2020

Remember What We Control Amid the Chaos

With the number of confirmed coronovirus cases accelerating, I try to remember what I can and can't control .

What I Can’t Control

I can’t control how many people get infected by COVID-19. Or how many people experience life-threatening symptoms or die from it.

I can’t control the national response to COVIC-19, such as closing non-essential businesses or social distancing. Or how right or wrong those responses may be.

I can’t control how other people handle the disruption or stress from this global pandemic. Or if they don’t take it seriously at all.

I can’t control how this pandemic will continue to play out over the coming weeks. Or how much damage it’ll wreck on peoples’ health and livelihoods.

I can’t control how much the collective idea of “normal” will change. Or if it will ever be the same again.

I can’t control if there will be a national or global recession as bad as, or worse than, the 2008 crash.

I can’t control if the death count will be higher than any other war or disaster in the last several decades.

I can’t control any of these things. Tearing myself up over all this will change nothing.

What I Can Control

I can control my physical health. I can control going for runs in the morning to stay active and not feel too confined in my home. I can control eating healthy food each day. I can control getting up and walking around when I’m sitting in my chair too long. I can control punching the air to blow off steam, and not punching a wall. Or on a real bad day, punching a stupid person.

I can control my social distancing. I can control staying at least six feet from people. I can control keeping my hands clean. I can control not touching my face (unless my hands get minds of their own). I can control being as socially withdrawn and isolated, as I have been most of my adolescent life.

I can control the news I read. I can control my info sources being accurate without twisting it to ramp up the despair. I can control turning it off when I need a break for my mental health.

I can control how I invest in myself. I can control learning more for work. I can control focusing on healthy hobbies while at home, such as reading and being creative. I can control not resorting to getting constantly drunk or high to kill the time, except on Saturday nights. I can control giving myself fun with video games, even if it’s tougher to control my urge to buy Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

I can control my reaction to the chaos. I can control not letting my thoughts spinning out of control with anxiety over faraway news. I can control seeing what I can’t change, and accepting it for what it is. I can control how I close my eyes, take a deep breath, and remind myself I’ve done all I can do and can now relax a little.

I can control explosions with my mind. I just can’t let the world see this yet. They are not ready. The time has not yet come. But soon it shall. Soon.

I can control all of these things. They’re the ones worth putting time and energy into.

In tough times, it’s hard to remember what I can control and what I can’t. I hope I don’t forget over the next few weeks.

A laser-cut wood print with the quote 'grant me the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.'