Sometime it’s hard not to be discouraged. I think that two-plus years of dealing with Covid-19 has left most of us a bit drained, and often operating on our last nerve. It doesn’t take much these days to provoke an angry reaction, and patience is often in short supply. While things have certainly improved from the pre-vaccine days, we haven’t managed to return to the normal life we long for.
I still feel nervous when I walk into a crowded room, have a love/hate relationship with face masks, and worry every time I have a sore throat that I’m coming down with Covid. (I have seasonal allergies, so a sore throat and a runny nose are normal for me at least four months of the year.) I hate going to my doctor, because he still refuses to see any patient that has Covid symptoms, and almost all symptoms could be Covid. And, as petty as it sounds, I’m tired of watching my favorite restaurants close down because they can’t get enough staff and/or supplies.
All of which is to say that these days, I’m not always my usual, mostly-cheerful self. I’m much more thin-skinned, and quick to feel offended or hurt. I still have good days, but there are too many times when I can best be described as crabby. And I’ve decided that I really, really, don’t want crabby to become my new normal.
It’s easy to be cheerful when things are going well, and easy to be touchy and rude when they aren’t. It’s easy to respond to rudeness with anger, and to lash out when someone directs a snide remark my way. It’s tempting to engage in an on-line argument when someone posts a particularly obnoxious or inaccurate meme, in the hopes of “setting them straight.” In other words, the opportunities to be nasty to other people are almost limitless.
But, as I said, that’s not the person I want to be. And so I’m making the deliberate decision to “opt out” of the whole mess, as much as possible. Because I really don’t need to respond to someone looking for an argument, or react when someone says or writes something that hurts my feelings. I know there will be times when I’m tempted to give “tit for tat,” as the saying goes, but I hope that I’ll be strong enough to know that by doing so I’m only making a bad situation worse. Sometimes, silence really is golden.
I’ll try to remember the the person whose words or actions bother me is probably also operating on his or her last nerve, and may not even mean to cause offense. I’ll try to act the way I want someone to respond when I inadvertently offend them, by giving the benefit of the doubt. Mostly, I’ll try to remember that, while I can’t control other people’s words and actions, I most certainly can control my own. And that these days, it’s more important than ever to try to be my very best self.