As the reality of an indefinite psychological marathon worsened, many journalists began to count their blessings in entries that were filled with both gratitude and fear.
“There have been many losses in recent months, including transportation on public buses and cycling as the bike path is washed out and the library is closed. … When I hear that this could take another year, I am desperate. But I take it one day at a time and I'm grateful that I can pay my bills, have a roof over my head and have found out how to get food so far. "- Retired from Michigan in her 70s.
In their preliminary analysis, Dr. Mason and Dr. Will firmly that feelings of guilt, privilege and gratitude be expressed early in the epidemic and appear in about a third of the total of 530 English-speaking contributors. Ten of these journalists devoted most of their posts to giving thanks – for what they have and for what they took for granted.
February 15, 2021 at 12:35 p.m. ET
"Some of that is white-liberal guilt that feels bad when so many aren't," said Dr. Mason. “But we have a lot of colored people who are not privileged and feel guilt for a slightly different reason. You see family members die, lose jobs, and fail to pay rent. "
A summer full of protests, fire and existential fear
“The world feels like it is imploding again when the police murder black and brown people, children murder innocent protesters, teachers are afraid to go to school, the economy continues to collapse, a hurricane. It's overwhelming … we're all just sick of it. "- Community worker and mother in her forties from New Jersey
During the summer, Covid-19 outbreaks spread across much of the country, despite Black Lives Matter protesters taking to the streets in more than 400 cities. California was on fire in August and struck by one of the worst wildfires of all time. And all of this seemed to fuel an increasingly evil, highly polarized presidential campaign that kicked off in September and October.
Many people, especially younger journalists, were ready to scream. "At this point, selfish or whatever it sounds, I'd rather be homeless than spend another day in this house," wrote a young woman, a late-teenage student, from New York. "That may sound dramatic and I'm angry, but I'm done with it."
The magazines swell and retreat like a living organism, creating a growing sense that the world is coming from its berths. "The record temperature measured in Death Valley reminds me not to forget the desperation over the climate crisis," wrote another woman, a software engineer in her 50s from California. "The pandemic made everything feel like it was falling apart."