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  • Writer's pictureMadalyn Otto


The weight of this year's events is feeling even more acute right now even though we're 9 months into it. Undoubtedly, this is because it's a time of year where social gatherings and social-non-distancing have defined modern human existence.

Coping with uncertainty is easier when with others. Experiencing joy and love is easier when with others. Feelings of isolation are less common when engaging in real-time with people you feel close to. Figuring out how to re-make traditions and modify ritual experiences can feel daunting, and even a bit frustrating at this point. Does anyone else just want a break from "being adaptable" for a while? Does anyone else feel like they're one more possible COVID-exposure away from having an adult temper tantrum followed by sob-fest followed by resignation from adulthood?

It's completely normal to feel exhausted by this year. It's completely normal to feel defeated by the avalanche of challenges that have beaten down your door. It's normal to feel grief for the losses you've sustained and to simultaneously feel unable to grieve the loss(es) because you just aren't sure what's around the corner.

This post is not about bucking up. This post is not rising up. This post isn't about seeking new opportunities during hard times, nor is it about finding the silver lining.

Instead, this post is meant to invite you to notice something wonderful that is. Notice something, anything, right now, right where you are at this moment, that is good.

And if you're feeling abstract, let the thing that you notice be the positive collective spirit and resilience of people everywhere.

I'm not a particularly emotional person (though I do have my moments), but I did involuntarily bawl my eyes out when I listened to this kids' choir cover of Memories on Facebook. There was just something about watching these kids perform their skills and talents in a novel way using a medium practically invented by this global pandemic, singing lyrics about life's changes, that moved me. The whole time watching it I was just thinking: It's going to be OK. Even during monumental challenges, we collectively endure and thrive.

Enjoy this precious time with friends and family members this holiday season, especially on Zoom :) :D

In Health & Holiday Spirit,

Dr. Otto

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