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Chrystal Williams

At first, I spent many hours befuddled, pondering what the hell was going on. Mostly, I was attempting to imagine a post-Covid19 world. It was as if I were strolling along the edge of a rambling, roiling creek, stopping every few feet to peer into the water unable to see beneath because the water was too active, too changeable and too combustive at the surface. All I could discern were basic elements: water, air and wind, and rocks. But, I knew more was happening beneath the surface just as I knew much more existed within the combustion. And what more was going on beneath the water seemed imperative for me to know. So, I kept stopping to peer unproductively into the turmoil until finally I gave up trying to see anything but that which was immediately apparent just at the surface.

Then I went looking for people smarter than me—all of the intellectual prognosticators, the disruption glee clubbers. Surely, I thought, someone will be able to put the entirety of it into a larger, historical context. After all, although we are always living in history, this was the kind of “extraordinary” about which people write books, create hypotheses, economic forecasts and sociological theories. I frittered time earnestly trying to contextualize and forecast. It was a ridiculous pursuit. No one knew and no one knows. Finally, I grew so frustrated that I stopped trying to see into the future as a matter of self-care. And that was new to me, the stopping, because I’d always been fairly good at forecasting, anticipating, thinking and then acting strategically. But, COVID-19 had gotten the better of me. Acceptance, the notion that I was walking along the edge of something that I could not fully see, understand, control or change had to be enough. So, how am I doing?

I’m doing okay. I’m doing a great deal better than many people. For the time being I have a job, a home, food. And, I’m accustomed to being alone, to living fully in my head. I prefer silence and quiet and contemplation over raucousness and lots of social gatherings. In some ways, constitutionally, I was made to thrive in circumstances such as these. And, even though I bought a condo, renovated, and moved in the middle of this extraordinary time and experienced all of the stress that moving entails, what has most struck me about this time has been coming to terms with the terms of the gig. Life. If you’d asked me about my personal operating principles prior to February 2020, “acceptance” would have been on my list. But, it’s easy to say “I seek to practice acceptance” when everything is pretty much the same on a day-by-day basis. What, actually, do you have to learn to accept? Not much. But, COVID-19? Yeah, well, acceptance becomes a whole other endeavor—a real practice. And it takes real humility. So, I’m doing really great. I like learning big things. And being humble enough to learn this type of acceptance has been a doozy. So, yeah, unlikely, but true. I’m good.

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