On My Mind: Paying Our Emotional Bills – WFAE

There have been a few times in my life some for good reason, some not when I have maxed out my credit cards.

Its a scary feeling to know that youre stretched about as far as you can go.

We have spent this last year with COVID-19 maxing out our emotional limits. And now, finally, it looks like we can begin to pay back that debt to ourselves.

President Biden hopes to make everybody in America eligible for a vaccine by May 1, with the hope of people being able to have small gatherings by July 4. If it happens, there will be some serious fireworks maybe enough to blow us all the way out of the holes weve dug for ourselves.

Because we have dug in deep over these past 12 months. Weve been isolated and depressed, overmedicated or undermedicated. Weve indulged old, bad habits, neglected showers and shaves. It has been like hibernating, except without the good nights sleep.

And of course for some of us the hurt has gone much deeper. Theres no good way to lose someone you love, but its especially cruel for it to happen from a virus that punished us for touching and hugging and laughing together.

There are others who survived the virus but still have lingering medical issues. And then there are the rest of us, who have been lucky so far to not get the worst of it. But every single one of us still bears some weight from what the virus has done to our communities, our country, our world.

I wonder whether weve all now got a little agoraphobia the fear of leaving safe places. So many of our normal routines, pre-COVID, now feel dicey. Even when the doctors and scientists give us the all-clear, how long will we still flinch when somebody at the next table coughs? How long will it still feel weird to pass the peace with a stranger at church?

Theres no psychological windfall coming, no way to pay back that debt all at one time. Were going to have to chip away at it.

Back before everything was digital, when you borrowed money for a house or a car, the bank gave you a payment book with a coupon you sent off with your check every month. The best thing about those was that once you made the last payment, you would have a little ceremony and burn the book.

Paying down our debts from COVID-19 wont be quite as clear. We wont know were paid in full until we wake up one morning and feel normal again. That day will be different for everybody. But it will feel so good to have burned this particular book.

Tommy Tomlinsons On My Mind column runs Mondays on WFAE and WFAE.org. It represents his opinion, not the opinion of WFAE. You can respond to this column in the comments section below. You can also email Tommy at ttomlinson@wfae.org.

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On My Mind: Paying Our Emotional Bills - WFAE

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