Please understand. I fully realize that we are among the very lucky ones. I can work from home. Everyone in our family is healthy. We have financial security to be able to weather the current situation both now and into the foreseeable future. I know many people are in much more difficult positions than we are. We recognize and honor first responders and others who put their lives on the line for all of us. We are blessed, and I don’t take those blessings for granted for even one second.
Still, I confess to being a bit down – not depressed, but melancholy, despite having a generally optimistic outlook. And, I expect, many of you reading this feel the same. So I’m writing this in the hope that I can express what many of us, even the lucky ones, are feeling right now. If nothing else, I’m hoping it will be cathartic.
The days blend together. Some are punctuated by events, such as video chats with family, professional webinars, excellent digital programs by AIPAC, Stand With Us, and other such organizations. My own synagogue, Congregation B’nai Tikvah in Deerfield, of which I am a proud past President, has done a wonderful job of using digital media to reach out and engage.
Nonetheless, it feels like we are just drifting, just existing. There doesn’t seem to be anything to look forward to from day to day, and we are missing out on everything we had planned. We had much anticipated to our trip to Israel (we are supposed to be there right now as I type this) and – on our bucket list – the Greek Islands immediately thereafter, but that was canceled. We look forward to our plans for Independence Day – we decided to book a hotel in the Loop from which we could watch the Chicago fireworks – but that will likely be canceled too. I was scheduled to speak in Virginia at a judicial conference in April – canceled. I was scheduled to speak at Chicago Loop Synagogue in May on First Amendment and Hate Speech – canceled. Our niece’s wedding in September – likely canceled. Our trip to New England in the fall to see the color change, something we’ve wanted to do for years – likely canceled. Baseball season – canceled. My regular Sunday golf foursome – canceled. Ravinia Music Festival season – canceled.
Thank goodness for our modern technology, another of those blessings that I don’t, believe me, ever take for granted. Where would we be without the various video chat apps? Without the internet, without Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, and all of the other amazing entertainment, purchasing, and communication options? Without Kindle to download e-books from home? Without VPN and the ability to seamlessly work from home for those of us lucky enough to have that option – and thanks and honor to those professionals who made that work so seamlessly in the first place?
And thank goodness as well for medical researchers, inside and outside of Israel. An Israeli scientist has already been awarded a U.S. patent on a vaccine, and other news reports disclose other vaccine and treatments being developed at a rapid pace.
Nonetheless, it feels like everything is simply on hold with no realistic end in sight. If no vaccine arrives, which feels more likely than not, what then? Herd immunity? But what about those of us who have done the right thing to avoid being exposed – staying at home, wearing masks when we go out, social distancing. Having not been exposed and, thankfully, not having been infected, we won’t have antibodies. Are we to stay home forever until the day a vaccine is discovered? Another year or two, or longer? It still feels like life is just passing by, that we are just marking time. And at age 65 and still feeling young, that is NOT what I want to do.
I can hear you saying it – I’m saying it too even as I write this. Quit being so maudlin and self-absorbed. Buck up. Get over it, and yourself. Recognize that many are worse off, now and in the past – this is hard but not nearly so hard as families experienced during times of war when people had to deal with rationing in addition to fear for their loved ones. Use the time to improve yourself. Appreciate life. I do, I do, I do – honest. I’m working on it every single day.
Well, it worked somewhat. Just writing it down, getting it out of my brooding head and on to electrons helps. I hope reading this helped you too.