Earlier this week, I asked whether people felt prepared financially and spiritually for the coronavirus shutdown. The responses were interesting, revealing, and comforting.
Here are a few more responses, including my own.
Susie Ramone works at a healthcare call center and feels “OK” financially since she is still able to work.
“I have the money for about two months’ worth of bills set aside,” she said. “That gives me some peace of mind but not a lot.”
Spiritually, she feels “good.”
“I feel like you’re asking about how my little soul will fair through all of this,” she said. “I am a people person, so I am connecting with people as I can, via phone or video call, instant messenger, social media. I miss being around people. I make time to go for a walk each day. My soul communes with nature as I do this, and I feel so much better.”
Ramone is hunkered down at her cozy house with food, books, puzzles, TV, and her dog. She worries about friends who are unemployed and about those working essential jobs who are putting themselves at greater risk of contracting the virus.
“I worry about all of them,” Ramone said. “The scariness of the unknown gives me frequent mild panic attacks. I have to remind myself that this isn’t forever, that we will get through this, and it will be OK.”
Aaron Ringo is a self-employed luthier, or guitar builder, in Weatherford and relies on word of mouth at music and guitar festivals to promote his Wood Ring Guitars. Those festivals have been canceled, but Ringo said he feels prepared financially for the short term.
“My business was exploding with lots of work when this all came down,” he said.
He expects to feel the financial blow eventually even though he feels “lucky to have around six to eight months of orders and work right now. I am also lucky to have a wonderful family to help support each other through this.”
Hunkering down won’t be difficult.
“If you call what I normally do each day a quarantine [stuck in a wood shop], life has not changed too much other than not seeing friends or local concerts,” he said. “It is a bit more stressful getting food, and we worry about the supply chains a bit. You never know what they are going to be out of next. I know there will be tough times ahead, but I will get through it. I just want my family to stay healthy.”
Izzy Jeffery is the youngest person to respond to my questions. The 20-year-old musician and barback feels fortunate that she had put a little money together to buy a travel camper but can now use the cash for food, gas, and other essentials.
Spiritually, she is cool.
“Prior to the outbreak, I had ventured into a self-reflective hiatus,” she said. “Rather than stress about social position or allowing the pressure of my career and future to weigh me down, I redirected my priorities on spiritual realignment. That meant no social media and staying off of my phone for the first three hours of every morning and being especially kind to others. Now that the entire world is placing their plans on hold, I feel further connected with humanity knowing that there are other people going through a phase of important self-reflection. Though these are hard times, I’m hopeful that once this is all over, we’ll be more conscious about what’s of most significance to us.”
Jeffery urged everyone to avoid “the void of endless digital entertainment” and go outside, write more, and find your inner child.
“When we do swing back into normal routine, we can remember what makes us grateful to be alive,” she said.
Thanks to everyone who responded for this article. Your thoughts are inspiring and beautiful. I hadn’t planned on including thoughts of my own, but one of the respondents, Don Young, asked me to share them, and so here goes.
I’ve been a newspaper reporter most of my life. It’s a calling and a passion. I love it.
The industry has struggled for years, however, and I’ve been preparing for the worst. Good thing, too. Anthony Mariani, editor of the Fort Worth Weekly, sent an email yesterday announcing that much of our salaried staff, including myself, is being laid off.
The future is unclear.
I’ve never been without a job. Yesterday, I filed for unemployment. I’d never done that before, either. It wasn’t as difficult as I had expected, and it feels good knowing that replacement money might be on the way soon.
At 60, I’m too young to retire and too old to find a job easily and still have 10 years’ worth of mortgage payments to go. But I’ve been readying myself for this moment, including physically, mentally, and spiritually. I feel strong — sad and a little scared but strong.
Hopefully, this pandemic passes soon, businesses reopen, and we all return to normalcy. Until then, I plan to look for a job while continuing to contribute stories about the pandemic and its effect on Tarrant County residents to the Weekly’s pages. Why? Reporting is what I do. A reporter is who I am. Documenting this unique and uncertain time makes me feel helpful and useful. Maybe when the uncertainty blows over, I can go back to being paid for writing stories, taking photos, covering our city and its residents as we step through history, and shooting the Toast & Jam shows I enjoy so much.
If not, that’s OK. I will find something else to do.
Mostly I worry about others. My elderly parents. My siblings and relatives. My friends who’ve lost their jobs and –– unlike me –– have the added responsibility of raising children. We should all worry about one another but not too much. Worrying doesn’t help.
I’m sending out LOVE to all of you and feeling yours in return, and that’s enough for now.