Good morning, Friday. I wish all of this rain would wash our fears and anxieties away, not to mention the Corona virus.
A short time ago, I was in a room with my creative team working on a launch and were discussing how things go "viral"- a term in marketing that seems a bit dated because there's no rhyme or reason to why things go viral a la The Ice Bucket Challenge or any other number of tactics and stunts that marketers come up with. Often they have no idea why these things explode, but when they do there's proverbial champagne flute clinks all around. Success.
But now that we're in the midst of a pandemic with a President who seems so ill-prepared and ill-equipped (and probably ill himself) and the virus spreading fast, life has been put on pause. We're all WFH as we ask WTF is happening. This is, in my estimation, a very large tipping point not just for the US, but for the world.
I remember New York post 9/11, those fresh few weeks went tensions were high and the prevailing sense of the unknown caused fear and panic. Where would we go from here? How could we make sense of what just happened on our shores? How could we cope?
I'm not saying this is anything like 9/11, mind you.
But the feeling in NYC, my spiritual and physical home reminds me of that time. People are scared. Confused. Panicked. But in true New York form, I'm also seeing compassion and caring and a more gentle touch. A quiet resolve as opposed to our usual brash and in your face vibe. This morning at Union Market in my neighborhood (which is completely stocked by the way), a man was ranting and raving that his wallet had gotten stolen. It was clear he was an unhinged type anyway, and on most mornings, you'd walk by him and roll your eyes and keep going. It wasn't that anyone wanted to help him necessarily, it's just all of us there in our gym clothes and pajamas trying to go about our lives and get our pasta and coffee and chocolate exchanged glances. Knowing glances that meant "please, sir. Could you shut the hell up? We're trying to deal".
As a New Yorker, we have good survival skills. Most of us don't jump in our cars every day to drive to work or Target, we're out with the people, mixing and mingling and sucking up a lot of energy. As a sensitive, empathic type, the past few days have been really tough for me. It's not that I'm panicking about the virus or even getting sick. It's the collective gestalt that's having a real go on my anxiety levels. I'm sure many of you here and wherever you are feel the same way. And as a former and sometimes current producer, all I want is calm during a crisis. So I'm trying. But it's tough. I love this city more than anything but the energy here right now is spooky. A friend of mine told me he was going on a date last night and I honestly thought he was out of his mind. Love in the time of Corona indeed. I think we all take normalcy for granted. I know I'd give a lot to have some notion of normal, or whatever that will be going forward. For me, the past few years have felt, from a worldview, completely chaotic and anything but normal. I'd like something a little blah now please. Blah would be fine, really. Just a bit of same same. I miss that. "Nothing to report here" has never felt sexier.
Putting life on hold is difficult. For all of us. And as a New Yorker, it's really almost unimaginable. We thrive with a million things going on at once, but it's hard not to see the cosmic intention of this time. If you look at the way the world has been the past few years, it's fair to say hitting pause to take care of ourselves and each other would not be such a terrible thing. I hate the reason we're doing it, but I don't hate the intention. I worry about all the businesses that are will be hit hardest during this time of quarantine. And that at a time when we need connection most in the form of a hug or a hand, we literally can't have it. A special shout out to people with young children trying to figure this all out- from virtual classrooms to trying to explain what's happening even though we have no idea.
But what I do know is we will get through this. It's the unknown of it that's terrifying. That's what causes anxiety anyway. But we'll get there. Like many of you, I'm still open for business, working from home and adjusting to a new normal I hope is temporary. For me, the biggest takeaway is our lack of preparedness as a species. We are all just flying by the seats of our pants. Living check to check. Surviving and not thriving. Reacting to every new meme, fad, flash in the pan. I hope we're all learning a lesson here about mindfulness and cautiously preparing for very unpredictable lives as best we can. And keep washing your hands with soap, dammit. It's become a ritual even though we should be doing it more often anyway. My hands are like lizard skin at this point but I care not.
For now, I'm here for anyone who needs a virtual hug or hand or chat. Stay healthy, safe, and take care of each other. Cause that's what's up this strange time in America. Yours, in deep breathes and compassion and tons and tons of love. XO