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Gaining Weight at the End of the World

Ukraine is enduring yet another trial.

The coronavirus is showing no sign of abating.

We spent the last two months not knowing whether someone close to me had cancer.

In short: It feels like the end of the world.

There's a backpack sitting by my front door in case of a quick getaway. We're trying to figure out how to take care of our dog if we have to leave the country (Do I give her to a family while I can so she's safe, but feel like I've abandoned her—or do I carry her along in case this turns out to be nothing, risking the chance that we'll have no options later down the line? Which kind of horrible person do I want to be?). I'm sitting through meetings about localization and QA while fielding texts and phone calls from friends and family who want to make sure we're safe. I'm trying to stop my mind from playing out nightmares (What if it had been cancer? How would I live without them?). I'm remembering to grab a mask before heading out the door, the person on my right telling me I'm a sheep, the person on my left telling me I'm selfish for leaving the home. I'm taking lectures from one friend who tells me I'm stressing over nothing, and from another who says I'm an idiot for not leaving sooner. I'm weighing the pros and cons of over-reacting and under-reacting.

And last night I cried. About gaining weight.

Maybe it's the stress, or just my metabolism slowing down as I approach 30; more likely it's the effect of not devoting time to better eating and consistent exercise. But with everything else going on, the thing my brain decided was the final straw was the feeling of my jeans being tighter than they were last week.

My acne's back to it's pre-teen level. I think I may have offended a friend over coffee the other day, and I'm not sure how to bring it up. I need to figure out my taxes.

That's what stands out most to me, going through the big things: The little things don't stop. Your body doesn't say "Oh, you're going through something? I'll just keep burning those carbs for ya." Work doesn't magically come to a halt, friendships don't take care of themselves. Life goes on, and takes you with it.

I don't write this with the conclusion that I should just stop caring about daily tasks. Switching to junk food and late mornings is only going to make me feel more like rubbish than I already do. Putting off my taxes will cause more issues than just sucking it up and doing it.

But when I get a phone call asking how I'm coping with a growing pandemic, pending war, possible relocation, terrifying health scares—I want to be able to talk about my self-esteem, too, or the fact that I can't find a receipt I need to refund a broken piece of furniture. Being human means dealing with little jobs throughout the day. And right now, I want to feel human.

A quick postscript: Maybe the political unrest is just talk, COVID's nearly done, and we'll all go happily on for years to come. I hope I look back on this post able to quote Mark Twain: "I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened." But saying all will be fine isn't as comforting as some people seem to think it is. So give your friends who are sufferingin any waythe luxury of, at least for a little while, living in the moment.

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