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Barton Goldsmith: How to cope when the world is on hold

Barton Goldsmith, Tribune News Service on

Published in Dating Advice

Pivot (do you hate that word now too?). Improvise, adapt, and overcome (from the Marines). Be Zen (Lao Tzu). “Honey, relax!” (my wife). Pretty good coping tools, and I’ve used them all.

I’ve been using them regularly over the past two years, and the hardest part is knowing we are going to continue to deal with COVID-19 variants and surges (two more words to hate) for probably the rest of our lives. It’s hard not to become sad, anxious and depressed.

That being said, I am not going to let this ruin the rest of my life, because I’m a fighter. But I’m not stupid enough to bring a knife to a gunfight and COVID-19 has some very big guns. “Discretion is the better part of valor” comes to mind when I think of going out.

A whole bunch of folks still don’t want the vaccine, which means the rest of us have to avoid them. Even at “vaxxed-only” events, masks are the required attire for the gathering (inside or out), and hand sanitizer is available at bars and in every corner, just to be on the safe side. But even with these precautions, during a COVID-19 spike, I generally opt out. It just makes sense right now.

Yes, we will go back to some kind of new normal in the late spring, but I won’t let my guard down completely. If you feel differently, go for it, but I was offered suite tickets for the Super Bowl, and it just wasn’t worth the risk to me, and a lot of other people feel the same way. Like the guy who offered the tickets.

 

I’ve also gone back to online-only for my practice and consulting, and many people are continuing to work from home to stay safe. Networking events can be held online, as well as the many meetings your job may require. School for kids is a big concern for parents everywhere, and there are battles raging all over the country about safety protocols.

I am a total people person, and right now the best thing I can do for everyone is to avoid them. And that is so hard and hurtful. According to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, a sense of belonging comes right after food, water and shelter in terms of what we need. We are people who need people, it’s in our DNA, and isolating goes against our very nature.

Again, you have to decide for yourself what feels comfortable and be willing to try something different. For us, that means we didn't go out for Valentine’s Day. I ordered a heart-shaped pizza, some flowers, we gave each other gifts and kisses and called it a night. We are back to having groceries delivered and making our home as comfortable as possible, because for us being out in the world is just not safe yet, and so not very much fun at the moment. But this is just us; you need to make your own choices.

This doesn’t have to make you a hermit. We walk and hike daily, have deep conversation with each other, and we respect the science while also using our common sense to make it through this life-altering event. The good news is that by being smart and careful, we will.

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