Spell slots, spoons, and pandemic fatigue

Church I found by accident in Inverness, Scotland. No idea the name, but loved the purple doors!

Morning everyone. Spring’s in full swing here in my corner of Seattle Suburbia. The birds are singing this morning, and Muse is being Parkour Kitty because of it.

She’s chirped at them, chased them, but never caught them. She’s certainly tried, though.

A friend of mine was talking on FaceBook the other day about how he’d made plans for the day. Nothing big, things he’d done a thousand times before. All perfectly normal. Only he found, as he worked through the list, that he was quickly running out of spell slots.

If you understand the spoon theory, this is the same idea. Only gamers use the term spell slots instead. Once we’re out, we’re out until we take another long rest.

He wondered if it was because of pandemic fatigue. Honestly, I think we’re all suffering from that to some degree. Even if you’ve stayed healthy, kept working, were an introvert (meaning that the whole social distancing/stay isolated was your preferred state), this has been going on for over a year now.

A year in which graduations went online. A year where we watched, helplessly, as over 560,000 Americans (let alone the rest of the world) died. A year where those families had to mourn alone, without comfort from friends or family. A year where we couldn’t celebrate the highs of life, or the crushing lows, with others.

A year like no other.

It’s not over. Yes, I got my 2nd shot. In 2 weeks, I’ll be considered fully vaccinated. I’ve thought this entire time, even before they had a vaccine, that it would be a yearly shot I get along with my flu shot. Vaccinated or not, I’m still masking up. I’m still social distancing outside my house. I’m still taking steps back at work from a customer who refuses to stand back and wear a mask.

It wears on you. Especially if you’re an extrovert. It drains your soul in a way we’ve never experienced. There’s going to be days we run out of spell slots doing things we used to blast through. For me, there’s days where the ideas are in my head for stories but I can’t get the energy to even open the file. Where I have to decide what’s more important for what energy I still have left.

Depending on who you are is how this year has affected you. I learned how to set boundaries, enforce them, with people. I learned that the spells I was casting to keep them happy were costing me more energy than I had. I learned that I need hugs – platonic ones with people I care about – more than I thought I did. And I learned how to choose what was important, had value, instead of using those precious slots for others who didn’t care.

I sit here, drinking my coffee, and hope everyone reading this is okay. If your spoons are low, your spell slots down to cantrips, then take the time you need. Those decisions are yours to make, and you’re not beholden to anyone who wants you to expend more who can’t do the same for you.

BB/Chan Eil Eagal Orm

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