Why I'm Not Surviving

If life is the greatest teacher, the past few months have been a crash course on more than one subject at a time.


Living in a small Crown Heights apartment and seeing only the same eight people for several months has a way of doing that to you!


Despite my awareness that many people are suffering devastating outcomes of the virus which I’m not, it’s tough. I’m so grateful to Hashem that I’m still working and earning, that there’s an upcoming family simchah that everyone can (hopefully!) attend, and that I’m keeping to a semi-normal schedule, but the seemingly unending days, weeks, and months of monotony are taking their toll on me.

The never-ending noise in my house is overwhelming, so I try to stay out of the way--but I want real life interaction. Going for walks would help my mood and general health--but I feel too flat to get up and go. There’s so much I could be doing--but sometimes just getting through the day feels like a huge accomplishment.


One Monday afternoon a few weeks back, frustrated at the status quo, I managed to get out for a walk down Eastern Parkway (if you block out the sirens, you can almost pretend you’re not in New York City!). I called a friend, and we were commiserating over the lack of activity, combined with the uncertainty of how long this would last. To put it mildly, I wasn’t feeling too cheerful.


At one point she said, “You know what, Faigy? Don’t think about the long term, or even about two weeks from now. It’s a tough time, we’re all struggling. Don’t try to thrive now, just survive.”


Listening to her speak, I took a deep breath and felt my shoulders relax. All along I’d been comparing lockdown to “regular” life, but this whole situation is far from typical. I needed to take a step back and accept that things would be different for the foreseeable future.


A day later, I was thinking back to that conversation, and something didn’t sit right with me. As comforting as it was to hear her say that, I couldn’t accept the fact that for the next week, month, or more, I should “just survive!”


Is that what it’s all about?!


I’m not here for naught, and neither is COVID-19. If Hashem has chosen to put me in this world, in these exact circumstances, something special is happening here. I may not see it, and I definitely don’t understand it, but at every point I need to do my very best with what I’ve been given.


So... Survival mode? Not for me. Thriving? Honestly, not sure. I wish I could accomplish now what I do during more typical times.


Here’s what I am going to focus on, no matter the situation: striving, one step at a time. My lockdown goals may be a far cry from the usual, but as a Yid and Chossid I will never sit back and rest.


The view up on the mountain? So much better than at the end of the walking trail.


Faigy is the co-founder and co-director of Live and Learn CH. Her passion for community inspired her to start the website, and then this blog series.


Join us as we feature different women's journeys, and how they found their new normal during abnormal times.


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