This Too Shall Pass

It's okay to not be okay right now. Your feelings are always validated, no matter the circumstance. We'll all get through this together (while physically apart).


Jess Daninhirsch

It's important to embrace the little things we do have and to no longer take for granted the little things that we cannot experience right now.

On a stop light, green means go. Red means stop. Yellow means slow, caution. Yellow does not mean speed up to make it before the light turns red. Yellow is not the same as green. Recently, Pennsylvania has been placed into the “yellow phase” in this COVID-19 pandemic, meaning certain businesses can begin to reopen, people can gather in groups of up to 25, and our world is taking a step towards feeling normal again. But the world will never be normal again, at least it won’t be the same normal we knew. Especially not right now. We have to ease into normalcy while still taking extra but necessary precautions, such as continuing to wear masks in public and keep a safe distance from other people. 

This is a healing process. For most people, this is also a mourning process. Everyone all over the world is struggling, some more than others. Everyone has lost something important to them, whether it be a trip to which they were looking forward or even a loved one. Not all losses are equal, but all are upsetting to those who have lost something.

For example, I have pretty much nothing to look forward to for the next few months because everything has been cancelled. I’m sure many other teens feel the same way. I have waited my entire life to go to Israel. I finally was planning to this summer through a teen fellowship program called Diller. I was supposed to travel with 19 other teens and meet cohorts from across the world in Israel to celebrate our Judaism together. But our trip has been cancelled and will not likely be rescheduled. I was absolutely crushed when I heard the news. Every other plan I had after that has been cancelled as well.

Some may think that to be elitist. They say “what about the people who are actually dying from this illness?” I am lucky enough to have my family home with me. They are healthy, my parents are still employed. So why am I upset? Even before the world descended into a pandemic, I would always feel guilty for being sad about small things such as plans being cancelled or not getting to do something I was excited for. I feel guilty because I would think that there are people who have it much worse than me, and then I would feel guilty for not feeling guilty. 

But I am allowed to feel sad about small things. Because they are a part of my life, the life I live every day. I have to face them every day. The same goes for everyone else. Your feelings are valid, no matter how big or small. You are allowed to feel upset and angry at the world when things don’t go your way. 

Right now, nothing is going anyone’s way. This is bigger than all of us. We have no control over anything, so there is nothing for us to do but wait it out. I haven’t seen a single one of my friends in the flesh since March 13th, the last day of school before the state-wide quarantine was instituted. We cheered then, but now we all miss our lives; being in school, hanging out at lunch with our friends. Even though we are in the yellow phase, I will still not see my friends just yet. I will wait as long as it takes as long as it means keeping as many people safe and healthy as possible. Yellow means slow, not go.

You don’t have to be strong right now.”

It’s excruciating, sitting at home every day just waiting for life to come back (I bet we all understand what Rapunzel was singing about now, don’t we?). But we have to stick it out. You don’t have to be strong right now. It’s hard for everyone who can’t go to work right now. It’s even harder for those that do have to go to work right now. It’s hard for people who can’t see their families. It’s especially hard for the people who have lost everything they knew and loved, and my heart goes out to them. But that doesn’t take away the fact that the coronavirus also took away the small, seemingly insignificant things that were important to us.

It’s okay to feel whatever you are feeling. This has taken a toll on every single person in the world. My mom always tells me, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I am a worrier. Little things get in my head. This is just showing us that for individuals, it’s all small stuff and you can sweat whatever the heck you want. If you are healthy, safe, and (at least somewhat) happy right now, you are incredibly lucky. Don’t forget that. And don’t forget the ones that aren’t so lucky. They need your love.

I hope that this teaches a lesson to all of us about gratitude. When things turn sour, we often tend to dwell on it or focus on other bad things. And sometimes, that’s okay. It’s part of the healing process. But you can’t dwell on it forever. The world is full of little beautiful things. We should never take those little things for granted anymore because they could be gone in an instant. If you want those little things back, stay home.

Stay home to get your life back. Stay home to keep your family and friends safe and healthy. Stay home to keep strangers healthy. Stay home for those who are stuck in abusive homes. Stay home for those who don’t have a home. Stay home for the essential workers who can’t go home for long hours. Stay home for the greater good. Just stay home.

As my grandmother always said, “this too shall pass.”