The Coronavirus is still spreading and peaking, and most of us are stuck inside. This seems easy, but we’re inside while under extra constant stress and anxiety for ourselves, our loved ones, our countries, and the world itself.
Our productivity and work are collapsing around us. Many people have lost their jobs and all their income. Those who kept them have cut hours and lost part of their income. The lucky leftovers have lost their usual productivity. Likely due to the stress of a world that’s costing everyone else most or all of their income.
I’m one of the lucky leftovers. I’m also one with the habit of defining their value from how productive they are. So I have the gift of being able to work, and the curse of a worsening feeling of “I am not worthy.” And this is America, so I’m likely not the only one.
So for everyone with this feeling and those who have lost some or all of their work, I want to write this: we are more than just our work.
We are more than the money in our bank accounts. We are more than our number of likes and replies, or the comments and page views.
We are more than the cruel, biting remarks made by people we never meet. We are more than the cynical eye-rollers trying to look down on the world. We are more than the prodding trolls provoking away our time and energy. We are more than the cynics calling any precaution an overreaction, and making us question every feeling as overblown.
Most importantly, we are not the fears of all these jumping on us for being who we are. We are not all the pressure these fears force on us, whether real or imagined.
So if we’re more than all these things, what else are we?
We are also the people making others laugh on a phone call. We are also the people giving advice for tough moments via text. We are also the people making others surreally amused with a badly-timed GIF or sexual remark. We are also the people leaving others in awe of our cute, creative Animal Crossing: New Horizons island.
We are also the risks we take for others. We are also the huge grocery trip for our families. We are also the hug we give our partners to let each other know it’s okay to be overwhelmed. We are also the extra take-out meals we buy to support local businesses. We are also the days and nights we sacrifice adventure for indoors to flatten the curve for hospitals.
We are not machines nor numbers. We are humans. We are our kindness, our outrage, our empathy, our pain, our listening, our self-care, our selfishness, and our sacrifice.
We are all living through a horrible history. We are all struggling. We are all hurting, even as some hurt more than others.
We’re lots of things. But most of all, and especially so now, we are more than just our work.