The Exhausting Effort of Trying to Bend the Future to Our Will

Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: February 12th, 2021
Brendan Largay

Maybe it’s the time of year. Mid-February often feels this way in schools. Perhaps it’s the relentlessness of this virus and the frustration that—for all of the medical advances we hear about each day—our lived experience hasn’t changed in the ways we have hoped for. Maybe it’s cabin fever, the piles of snow amplifying that we have been cabin confined since last March. Whatever the reason may be, I find myself now, in conversations with others and in my mind, actively trying to bend the future to our collective will.

In considering the environmental exhaustion we are experiencing—that ‘I-don’t-know-why-but-I’m-spent” feeling—I have concluded its source has to do with the energy we expend trying to control an uncertain future. Increasingly, I hear from parents who are especially tired of the absence of a visible goal line, which, when reached, will bring some semblance of the known experiences we had pre-pandemic.

As someone in the daily habit of digesting the latest vaccine rollout news, who has countless bookmarks dedicated to the coronavirus and tries desperately to reactivate his crystal ball, I empathically offer my shared frustration. If you can, I encourage you and your child to find ways to relax this February break. Of course, I don’t mean relaxing any of the protocols that will continue to keep us safe. I suggest relaxing by giving your minds and hearts a break. For me, finding a relaxing space begins with some degree of acceptance of what we cannot control and resisting the understandable desire to set a finite timeline on the pandemic.  

I have learned that the virus doesn’t care all that much about timelines, schedules, calendar years, or my feelings. Thus, the energy we dedicate to trying to overlay our timelines upon it become exercises in frustration more than anything else. I see this break as a chance to reset our expectations of the virus. Think of it as getting a bit more Zen to relieve some of the emotional burden and exhaustion you have been carrying.

My wish for you all this break is that you give yourself one. We all deserve it. When we return, we will be a week further along in our fight against the virus, which is good news indeed.

Have a wonderful break, everyone.

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