we are all walking covid calculators + looking into 2021
we subtract and add and divide all the gd time
i still struggle with describing the ways that covid-19 exhausts me. there are so many ways to put how this pandemic has twisted, latched, and punctured our souls — but i don’t know where to start. there are no verbs or adjectives. and i think a lot of people feel the same way.
the reality is that we’ve all been forced to become walking covid calculators, subtracting or adding our comfort and risk tolerance over happenings we never noticed before. we make a mini-series of decisions and declarations with each hug, grocery store trip, package that we choose not to wipe down. sometimes it brings division. regardless its complicated because it has to be: many of us have never been more aware of our own mortality, but we’ve also never been more incentivized to live a quiet, unadventurous life.
i wish the ubiquitous stress-disguised-as-complacency was calming (see: alone together) but it feels somewhat infuriating. and if i’m being honest, my inability to articulate my emotions has been the biggest reason why i haven’t written too wordy on a consistent basis for months. i don’t have a takeaway, let alone some useful notes or inspiring anecdotes to give you a different perspective.
so my new method of inspiration is looking at old ideas and grading how right or wrong or off or on i was when i was simply a young, pre-pandemic soul.
more later, but first my words + reads
my words: my exhale of the year went live nearly a week ago. i wrote about edtech’s state of play going forward, and more importantly, what needs to happen so 2020 isn’t simply a blip in the sector’s trajectory.
etc: i took over startups weekly, a weekly newsletter from techcrunch about startups! here’s my latest edition, and make sure to sign up and tweet me your complaints + fan mail.
my pod: we did two end of year episodes over in equity world; my favorite of the pair being the one where we ask five vcs to talk about 2020. it came with a dose of laughter, losses, and wins. much more to come this year!
learning lesson: i am bad at predictions.
today, we’re looking at a piece i wrote a year ago: the art of explicitness and clarity. in this piece, i argue that we all need to be more direct to actually get what we want. here’s an excerpt:
i’ll tack on a simple game plan: i’m saying more of what’s on my mind until i get to a point where i realize that it isn’t a scary thing. no one is flipping over a table because i asked for them to confirm whether or not they can grab coffee. and no one is setting the room on fire because i cancelled plans to stay in bed.
often, being direct is not about ripping off the bandaid, it’s about changing an internalized habit to see everything as a big wound in the first place. as someone who is empathetic to a point of weakness, i am doing my best to join the latter camp.
while i was writing about this strategy in a professional context then, in the time of coronavirus, i don’t think it’s ever been more important to be a direct person. we are all living a different pandemic. for that reason, no one can guess how you’re feeling, your comfort levels, or your risk tolerance. we can give grace (and we should!) to the people in our lives, but when it comes down to covid calculations - only you know the small, subconscious and conscious, boundaries that you set for yourself. ya feel?
while it’s a shared experience in the macro sense, there is no shared language that perfectly encapsulates how each and every single one of us feel. so you have to speak up, even though it’s uncomfortable.
my use of subordinate clauses and commas suggest that, one year later, i am still a huge fan of flowery language. heck, we’re all a work in progress. i’ll be honest: externalizing my covid anxiety to my friends and family has been an exhausting process that has quite literally hurt my skin + sleep routines. but it’s been relieving to be met with immense understanding from my loved ones.
everyone reacts to a heightened sense of mortality differently, and mine is to be extremely aggressive in my acts of quarantining + socially distancing.
it feels like i’m in the middle of uncomfortable growth that i will one day be thankful for. i’m mid-transition into being a person who says “here’s what i think” instead of watering it down with words. that’s a post-pandemic win in my book.
and so that’s what i’ll leave you with: directness during a time where so much is vague is difficult, but necessary. its the only way that the calculations will leave our minds and into conversation. and the exhales will come soon, i promise.
…..next week, i promise i won’t agree spend hundreds of words agreeing with myself.
to indirectly being forced to be a more direct human,
a socially distant walk through the mud with my bestie