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How Not to Break

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Just a little bit of joy

In a podcast I listen to regularly (in Hebrew), they talked about the last exercise of a high-prestige military unit (think marines but tougher). Here's what they do: they have to run however many miles carrying however much weight (two high numbers, I don't doubt). They arrive close to the finish line, they can see it from a distance, there's a table with a feast on it, all their commanders are standing there, cheering them on. When they get there, the commander flips the table over and says they have 20 more km to go. This is when most people break.

This is where we are now in this pandemic. We saw the finish line in the shape of vaccines. We had normal life within our grasp just before Christmas. We could see Ithaca, or the promised land, or whatever. And then we entered the third lockdown. This is where I was in early January. A hot mess, unable to move forward, with no reserves left. I couldn't carry on.

I did anyway. Really, quite a bit of it was because we just up and got on a plane to Israel. This was when the airport in Israel was still open, and we managed to come in just as the doors were closing behind us (very Indiana Jones, that was). The change of place alone was a breath of fresh air. Seeing my family again, hugging my mom again, holding my nine-months-old niece for the first time. These were a ventilator, giving me life support when I most needed it. And nearly a full six weeks of sunshine.

I don't know how people can go through this without a similar opportunity for revival. I know that, for me, this is what saved me from breaking. All I can say is, I hope you have something similar, or at least someone close by who can help you get to something similar. Taking a break is better than breaking. I try to remember this as we're adjusting to being back, adjusting to life in lockdown again. I started posting a picture of something beautiful or something that brings me joy every day over on my Instagram account. Just a little reminder for me to keep looking for joy.

Spring is coming. Hang on.


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