At this wild time, I am talking to clients and friends about stress and anxiety. The health crisis, the job losses, the education impacts, the changing family dynamics, the isolation. The current environment is most often described as overwhelming and the proposed solutions underwhelming. And yet, people are reconnecting, rebalancing and reflecting in meaningful ways. People don’t want to go back exactly to normal–whatever normal means–and we have new rituals that deserve preserving.
We have been overcome with loss, yet we have gained new perspectives. We have been drowning as unskilled home schoolers, but we’ve emerged more in touch with our children’s learning needs. We have struggled with the chaos of working at home, yet we’ve broken the orthodoxy on what it means to “go to work.” We have been isolated physically while ironically becoming more connected.
On balance, perhaps we are not overwhelmed or underwhelmed, but rather whelmed. For every negative, we’re finding a positive. For most setbacks, we’re able to counterbalance with feelings of gratitude. For every disappointment, we’re finding a nice surprise.
The next time someone asks how I’m getting through the pandemic, I will answer, “It’s been whelming.”