How to Cope with the Blustery Days in the 100-Acre Wood

Joel Michael Herbert
4 min readAug 12, 2020
Photo by Edwin Hooper on Unsplash

Dearest Ones,

I’m writing today to encourage you, if you find yourself in a similar situation to me.

Like many Americans, my livelihood was drastically disrupted by COVID-19. On top of that, we moved across the country in a move that was already planned, right as everything closed down. That means open jobs in my realm of expertise are rare, music gigs are non-existent (my wife and I have always made extra money as artist-musicians), and trying to build a new network in a new city is damn near impossible.

It’s discouraging. It feels like this is never going to end, that there is no light at the end of the tunnel, and that I’m going to be stuck in a barely-pays-the-bills, dead-end job that I am overqualified for forever.

Can you relate? Maybe you are feeling something similar, with the details swapped out.

I’m lucky in that I haven’t lost any friends or family during the pandemic, but I know many people have. I can’t imagine adding a grieving process on top of everything else right now.

I haven’t faced eviction or a vehicle getting repossessed, but I know many Americans have and are.

On top of that, we are full-on into what is probably the most divisive and mean-spirited political season in at least 50 years, maybe 150.


It’s a lot. It really is. And the hardest part about it, I think, is that it seems like I should be able to handle it. It seems like it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Just stay away from people and wear your mask, right?

Well, if you’re like me, and this pandemic is all kinds of triggering, if you didn’t realize how much you got life and light from church, trivia night, the gym, meetings at coffee houses, a weekly beer with a friend, basketball every Thursday morning at the Y… whatever it was for you…

I want you to know that you’re not alone.

It is so oh-freaking-kay to be not okay right now. It is okay if you feel an inexplicable cloud hanging over your head that you can’t shake. It is okay to feel helpless and stuck and overwhelmed right now. I do too. And more people than you think are also feeling this way.

Joel Michael Herbert

Husband. Father. Artist. Storyteller. Armchair Theologian. Advocate, activist and politician. Gryffindor. [neuro]Divergent.