August 8, 2020


Gloves-off! With zero regret, I announce that henceforth retirement is mandated. You’ve violated the International Scope-of-Virus Agreement. Retirement must be immediate. As expected, everyone avoids you like the plague…because you ARE a frickin’ plague. You’re in violation because, dear COVID, you’re a HUGE angst instigator. HUGE--and NOT YOUR JOB! Forgive my zeal, but suicide-widow-me gets pretty testy about toxic mental health agitators. Like you, COVID.

Nearly-never-said-out-loud-fact: 99.9% of America manages anxiety by running away. Our favorite escape refuge is busy-ness. We’re pridefully addicted to productivity; before you came along, we even went to work SICK! Clocking-in sick literally proved one’s work ethic (begrudgingly, I credit you for nixing that one). We’re especially addicted to ‘profitable’ activities—financial yes, but social too. Despite our best efforts to cheat, we’ve lost. You’ve kidnapped both monetary gain and our beloved social see-and-be-seen thingy. Behind closed doors, mental health suffers, COVID-anxiety festers, and crappy self-sabotage ensues. We self-soothe by eating too much (I’m there). We compulsively scrub, tidy, garden & tinker…knit until we bleed…obsessively over-think ourselves into places we don’t belong…toss & turn all night…other times, we full-on sleep for three days straight. Nonetheless, angst continues to taunt. So…we pull out the numbing agents: substance and/or mindless screen time. (All of the above applies to those of us lucky enough to be non-essential workers. Those heroes battle COVID-angst while risking everything, working tirelessly to hold the country together.)

Non-essential-me has tried every self-soothing trick in the book. Including, sadly, a combo of vodka, chocolate and binge watching. Yes, my mental health quaked a time or two…or a zillion. To my credit, I’m nearing the end of a 5-day solitude-with-my-soul retreat. Sounds noble but no. Thanks to you, dear COVID, clearing my calendar wasn’t much of a sacrifice. Nonetheless: WOW. Navigating COVID-angst is the most generic lesson my soul revealed. I'll share more personal biggies later. But NOT with you dear COVID—no. You’ll be retired...GONE!



Marlie, your pro-retirement advocate (hopefully my advocacy is no longer needed)

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