So, here we are.
There are a lot of political things to be said today and in the coming weeks, and they should be said by people smarter than me.
But I just want to point out that today is the finish line of a marathon. (To be fair, it’s a marathon that we thought ended two months ago, but just like the actual finish line of a race, it turned out to be just a bit farther off than it actually was.)
And at the end of a marathon, you see a sea of humanity. Some people are overjoyed. Some people are totally wrecked. Some are bewildered, delusional. You see people staggering about, zombie-like. You see people sprawled out, nearly lifeless, on the grass. You see people high-fiving and hugging strangers. (Maybe not so much this year. Y’know, COVID and all.)
Because a marathon is this incredibly demanding, physically destructive thing, right? You train and train and then on the day, you just keep putting one foot in front of the other for mile upon mile and you stop and catch your breath at the aid station but there’s really nothing to do except keep on running toward the next one and the sun’s getting higher in the sky and your nipples are chafing and that twinge in your ankle transforms to white fire with every step and all you hear, all you trust, all you know is the soft metronome of your footsteps, the muffled roar of the breath going in and out, the blood pumping in your ears.
We’ve all been through it over the last four years, and the last year, especially. We’ve all been running a mental marathon, and it’s been absolutely brutal.
No matter which “team” we’re on, 2020 was a rough one, and 2021 seems not to want to be outdone so far.
But we’ve all crossed the finish line, or at least, *a* finish line. There are more miles to be run. But not today.
Today is a day for celebration at reaching the end, it’s a day for nursing injuries. It’s a day for walking down the stairs backwards because your legs just can’t handle the strain.
And it’s worth remembering that all our neighbors have just run the same race, even if they’re not showing it on the outside. And even if, instead of the jubilation that I feel, they’re shell-shocked and lying at the grass or screaming at the sun in hopes of somehow changing reality.
Nobody’s mind is right after a marathon.
Take a few days, at least, to recover. And know that everybody else is recovering, too. And spread a little kindness.
Because a marathon is a hell of a thing to go through. We’ve earned a couple of mental rest days.