it is what it is

In the last few years of my internet life, I’ve witnessed a collective groan over the phrase “it is what it is.” For people who want to know you’re human, want to see an emotional reaction to uncomfortable situations, and want some proactive measures taken to make them comfortable again, the phrase feels dismissive.

I understand. Even if I don’t always agree.

The thing, though, is we’re in an “it is what it is” situation. There is no amount of emoting, reframing, or pleas to “do something” that will put our lives back in their neat, easy-to-recognize containers. Your social life? Gone. Your self-care routines? If they involve public spaces, throw them out of the window. Your plans and goals? You may as well light them on fire.

We are in unprecedented territory and it seems the people best equipped to deal with it are those of us who never abandoned “it is what it is” as a mantra.

You will be inconvenienced. You will be bored. You will have to figure out how to live with considerably less freedom of movement. And the trajectory of the moment can change on a dime.

The best thing we can do for ourselves, it seems, is accept reality on a day-to-day basis. Last week, it was “wash your fucking hands.” This week, it’s “schools are closed and keep your asses out of bars and restaurants.” We can guess what comes next, but getting attached to any hypothetical scenario is unwise.

Because we just don’t know.

And it is what it is.

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