Before you start getting out your various DIY creations (or in my case, plants) to hurl in my general direction, hear me out.

I see the light at the end of the tunnel! We are right there, guys! But instead of the relief that I was positive I would feel there is this sinking feeling in its place.

See, when we got locked down it was right at the beginning of what is the craziest part of every year for us. We go to 4 or 5 sports practices per week, games, PTA meetings, sports boards, trying to fit in family dinners and nights out with friends, maybe say hey to my husband because we have been doing the divide and conquer dance for so long that it is like our equivalent of March Madness. All of that and you’d never know that really, I was white knuckling it day in and day out because honestly? I was whatever you call exhaustion times anxiety times people pleaser. And the worst part? I feel like I’ve missed out on some of the actual *joy* from those moments because who isn’t tired when your weekly calendar looks like the press release for the hottest new pop group. Exhaustion is treated like a badge of honor instead of your mind and body’s emergency broadcast system sending you signals to slow down and rest.

Don’t get me wrong! These things have brought me ridiculous amounts of happiness. Even as I type I can’t help but smile because we have made and had some of our most cherished memories from that chaos. It just doesn’t mean that I wasn’t pushing myself to the limit. There was no balance to our life—there was just a series of events and seasons and guilt. Guilt for all of the various things I had to say no to or couldn’t help with. Guilt because sometimes you just want to hang out with your husband and your kids but there’s not time for it, and when there is time we’re trying to squeeze someone or something in.

With all this time off I’ve been thinking, I don’t want to go back to feeling like my 200% wasn’t nearly enough. Because the price of feeling like a good parent or a good worker or a good CEO in this society’s eyes looks going above and beyond to meet this insane standard. If you have free time, you must be a slacker. Never mind having something like a “hobby” that you don’t immediately try to monetize. Essentially if you are not trying to build an empire then you are not doing enough, and that is just bullshit. When did we collectively decide that if you are not working yourself to the bone 24/7 then you aren’t trying to succeed? Who’s batshit idea was that?

I want to start this conversation now before we get to the very end of this thing. What kind of world do we want to live in after this? After experiencing unfathomable loss coupled with a series of traumatic events how do we want to reunite? What are we going to take from this and bring into this next phase of history? So, I’m asking you, can it be with empathy and kindness? Can we just look around for a moment and be incredibly grateful for coming out on the other side of this thing that is going to go down in every history book long after we are all gone? Because I don’t want to go back, and I want better for all of us. We deserve to treat each other and ourselves better than that.

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