Buy this shirt: Jordan Spieth Golf shirt, hoodie, tannk top and long sleeve tee
Would I be better off if I let the reality of how COVID-19 has changed all our lives sink in a little bit more? Psychologically, maybe. But I’m also grateful for my lifelong pessimism, because it’s allowed me to get through this year. When all my friends were freaking out in tandem, I was able to provide some small degree of solace; not because I knew anything they didn’t, but because 27 years spent preparing for the worst made me strangely calm when it finally came.
No part of me could ever have imagined a global tragedy on the scale of COVID-19, but I’d always had a gnawing sense that at some point, my life would be unrecognizable due to forces outside of my control. (For years, I joked about not wanting to have kids because I didn’t want to see them fight it out in the climate-change-induced water wars; only recently have I started reconciling my actual, strong desire for children with my fear that another pandemic, or the ever-looming threat of environmental devastation, or some other blight we can’t yet imagine, will ruin their theoretical lives. See, I’m fun, right?)
A lot of my bratty response to my mom’s understandable worrying came from a place of internalized judgment about my own privilege, which I’ve since learned to balance somewhat. (As Zadie Smith wrote in her quarantine manifesto Intimations, “Suffering is not relative; it is absolute.”) Some of it, though, came from a genuine unflappability fortified by years of preparing for the worst. Here, at long last, was the Bad Thing; I hadn’t been crazy all those years when I stayed up at night fearing death and disease. Suddenly it was here, all around me, and thanks to the work of mutual aid organizers who made community care feel possible in those early pandemic days, I actually felt like I was in some small position to help (even if it was just through donating money, or delivering groceries to neighbors).
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