Summer Check-In

A day ago, an acquaintance asked on social media how everyone was doing. I rarely spill much on social media, but I hadn’t seen this person in about eighteen years, and she was seriously asking how her people were doing. In addition, I figured it was time for another check-in.

Back in April, at the spring check-in, optimism still filled my days. But now, we’re well into this Covid crisis, racism is as much as a problem as it was before, and a heated election is on the horizon.

How am I doing? That’s a great question. So what did I say to my friend?

I said that my response varies. We have enough food, water, good shelter, health insurance, money in the bank, pets, and our jobs. Tim gets to work from home if he wants, and I work from home and can select how much I want to work. All six of us are healthy, physically, and we can see my parents (outside) pretty routinely. Our children are typical learners and haven’t had issues adjusting to remote learning. Our oldest two, who should have left for college on the August 20, understand why the college has decided to implement a phased approach. “It be like that,” they said. They’re willing to postpone a ton of first experiences (after having lost a lot of last experiences) because they know how important it is to stay healthy and minimize risk. So overall, we’re doing “fine,” as they say.

But if I pull back and look at how I’m actually doing—mentally mostly—the story says I’m not fine. I added another day of running into my week and aim to walk every day. These extra steps curb my anxiety and keep at bay the depression that lingers. Every morning, I’m grateful to wake up, and yet, I also brace myself for what comes next. Always a thumb-picker, I now sport Band-Aids on each thumb—almost every day—because the negativity out in the world right now threatens to overwhelm me. I’m behind on marketing my forthcoming book, haven’t touched my current work-in-progress in too long, and feel like I’m scrambling to get most things accomplished on most days.

And then, if I think of my friends, family, community members, and everyone who cannot say that they have everything they need, or those 176,000 + deaths in the US—well then, I just want to cry. But crying does no good. So instead, I make donations, send emails, and become as involved in the world around me as I can without increasing a risk to my health.

But even on days when I feel like my actions don’t mean a thing, I remember that a ton of goodness is out there—including people like my friend—and I just need to focus on that.

So even though I’m not exactly where I want to be, and 2020 hasn’t completely turned out to be my year—although there’s still time for that!—I’ll take the positive and run with it. And check in again in the fall.

Image of blue bell by zanna-76 at

Leave a Comment