2020: What 70% Looks Like

Something that could have brought us
together tore us apart.
It tore me apart too.
I’m sort of trudging along.
Wishing I had been more heroic,
handled 2020 with more patience, equanimity.

I’m an extrovert, with more energy
than most people. Now,
I’ve got average-grownup energy.
I’m not used to this.
I liked myself at 100%.

Things that gave me joy all went away –
…..kids’ music concerts, celebrations.
I do like change.
But I liked the old way better.

I became a family physician
because I wanted to make people feel better.
Because hope can make them feel healed,
even when I can’t fix their problems.

As a medical school dean, I read applications,
read stories, look for the tone.

Here’s my application for 2021, my story.
…..I’m not “covid fine.”
…..30% of me went missing.
What if my missing 30% never comes back?

What if I can’t find it again or fix it?
Can hope help me feel 30% better?

What I’ve learned from other deans:
there are a lot of non-heroes.
…..I’m not failing by myself.
.………I’m not alone.

Notes from the interview that inspired this poem:

She said that she didn’t feel that her story was particularly important. 2020 was not an inspirational story. While she had been both miserable and okay, she would have liked to have been more heroic. As an extrovert, 2020 had been particularly difficult. She was good at connection, but the energy she had gotten from others in the past was lost. She felt that she was operating at 70% of her usual self. She felt lucky to be in a job she loved. She wanted her poem to help her feel understood, less alone.

Interviewee: Anonymous, Physician
Listener Poet: Katherine Gekker

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