On Resilience

Man, 2020 is an absolutely cursed year. A ruinous global pandemic that’s been going on far longer than we all imagined it would. A plague of murder hornets. The social war erupting with the dumbest people getting the loudest voices. Jay White cheating Kota Ibushi out of the G1 #1 contender’s contract. It’s hard to see how the year could get worse. And yet its going to.

As I may have mentioned previously, I work in the Human Services department of our local government institution, and I’ve been part of some of the meetings we’ve been having to organize our Coronavirus response. And now, levels are worse than they’ve ever been before, lockdowns are looming, and it’s largely being driven by people who know better or should know better. People who have just stopped taking precautions seriously. There are, of course, some people who never took them seriously, or at least, never took them as seriously as they should have. And those were people we’ve known our messaging and measures we’re going to have little impact as long as we weren’t willing to cross a punitive line. But the ones that I, at least, find most interesting, are the ones who’ve started out the pandemic being very careful not to be a transmission vector, but now, have just stopped taking precautions.

We haven’t explored why they’ve stopped, which I feel is a rich area for progress, but resources are limited, so I won’t have answers there for the near future anyways. But I can posit. I’m a case manager, and a lot of what I work with people on is understanding just how their emotions come into play in their decision-making, and I see that all over the place here. Most didn’t expect to need to put restrictions on themselves for this long, and whether they did or not, the same feelings are likely setting in. Exhaustion. Desperation. Anxiety. Loneliness, and a distinct, long-term existence outside of their comfort zone.

Traditional social views around persistent negative emotions like these lie on endurance. You need to tough it out and last through these emotions to get safely to the other side. And it’s not necessarily a wrong perspective. But it is an incomplete one. Rather, it needs to go hand in hand with what’s been a rather fashionable concept of late, that being resilience. Which, if you’re in the type of field I’m in, there’s a whole bunch of psycho-babble to go along with it, but essentially, it’s the recovery aspect. With resilience, you don’t just tough out the bad times, you focus on getting better. Crap happens, you deal, then you get your emotional state back to normal, possibly while crap is going on.

So in essence, you don’t just sit in the badness because that’s how you tough it out, you acknowledge the badness and do something to make it better. Whatever that is depends a lot on the specifics of the situation and how you operate. Personally, I haven’t had that hard of a time, comparatively, with the pandemic. Friends and family and work contacts have noted how chill and steady I’ve been, so it’s not just me saying that. A lot of that comes from my deep, encompassing belief that I am absolutely magnificent no matter what happens. But I’d say most of it just come from what I’ve been doing for my resilience. In my case, most of it’s been physical fitness, because I’ve not yet encountered a problem I can’t make better by doing deadlifts. But that’s what works for me. What works for you may be different.

And in the case of thousands of people in my locality, what they’ve been doing for their resilience has been meeting with people and spreading the virus around. That’s been a problem. Bad resilience choices.

So, there’s not a single right way to manage your resilience. But apparently there’s a whole bunch of wrong ones. And in pursuit of living their best lives and recovering from the horrors of 2020, a lot of people are individually making the wrong resilience choices that are collectively keeping them from living their best lives.

And we’re going to be seeing more and more of that coming up, too. With American Thanksgiving in a few days, people are going to be taking the calculated risk of coming together, and that coin is not going to be coming up heads for everybody, which is going to drive things further. And the likely vaccine candidates are both a blessing and a curse right now, as the situation is not going to be progressing as quickly and solidly as people feel it should and that exhaustion is going to be felt more acutely than ever. And when people start taking one risk and it works out, they feel more comfortable taking more, so this all will have a cascading effect.

This next month is going to be incredibly hard. Early 2021 will be incredibly hard. Wrestle Kingdom might not end with Kota Ibushi kicking Jay White’s face in. And also the Coronapocalypse will likely be hitting incredibly hard, I guess. And yet, all this, it’s what you make of it. You can choose to make this better for yourself. And I don’t mean that in a touchy-feely “You can choose how to feel about it! :)” way. You can make choices with your resilience in mind. The outbreak is a horrible situation, and I’m glad I stopped doing my apocalypse logs because they’d be downright dour by this point. So many lives and livelihoods have been destroyed. And yet, this is also a gift and opportunity. You can make it such. You can take this time to do things you wouldn’t have done in the normal ages. Everyone deserves to feel as magnificent about themselves as I do, and you can take this time to make the choices that’ll take you there. For myself, this has been an incredibly productive year. I’ve been one of the few case managers in my statewide program that’s been as successful in the pandemic as I have, and I’ve been getting a lot of recognition for that. I’ve found a lot more time to study my almost-second language. I’ve enrolled in dance classes. I’ve gotten a lot more time for gaming. My Dungeons and Dragons game has never had all members there as consistently as it has these past 8 months. I’ve enrolled in dance classes. I’ve put on 20 pounds of muscle mass and have been breaking a lot of personal fitness records. That’s what’s been working for me, but there’s tons of openings for you, too. Don’t just endure. Rebound. Be resilient. And in so doing, make the right choices for your resiliency.

And remember, as dark as things get, as harshly as Jay White has been taking it to Ibushi, there’s always the light of hope. After all, it sure seems that Testuya Naito has had Evil’s number, and Evil’s been cheating even harder than Jay White ever did.

3 responses to “On Resilience

  1. It’s been a hard time for most everyone, yeah. Not for me really, since I’ve had the luxury of working from home and I’m a complete introvert who has to force himself to go out to social events out of a sense of obligation, so this has really been like a very long paid vacation somehow, but I know that’s not the case for most people. If we could somehow both kill the virus and also keep those societal expectations dead, that would be great. But I know that won’t happen, and I can’t be selfish about something this serious.

    Regarding people’s choices, especially this Thanksgiving, it is frustrating to see so many traveling and getting together like usual. Of course I get why people want to do it, but I find it pretty reckless, and it’s thoroughly disgusting how some prominent politicians are using this “protect our Thanksgiving” thing as a tool. It will probably be even worse around Christmas. I like the holidays as much as anyone else — Christmas isn’t even that much a part of my own culture aside from just being a big celebration in the US, but it’s still my favorite holiday. But when lives are at stake, it’s irresponsible.

    I’m happy to hear about your own success, though, and I hope we can all get through this time.

    • That’s been my big thing lately, finding the good in the bad situations, so I’m glad you’ve got that down too, that the pandemic has given you a good social break. And hey, the way things are going, you might be getting that for a good long while afterwards.

      And yeah, looking on social media, that’s exactly what people have been doing. Getting together for the holidays. Probably in smaller groups than usual, but still getting together. So, we’ll have to see hot that impacts the overall spread.

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