I’m Out of Silver Linings

–For today, anyway.

Disclaimer: This is not a feel-good COVID-19 story, so if you’re feeling as lousy as I am today, you may not want to read.

You should all know that I thought long and hard about writing this story for BIZCATALYST 360° because this community was created in order for us to lift one another up. And I don’t want to sully that by being a downer.

But that said, we are also here to be truthful about the events and situations that have, and do define us. And I’d rather write the truth, than hold back and become invisible here.

Recently, I experienced a spike of positivity and wrote a Medium story focusing on the positives of being quarantined in one’s home. However, as each day passes—exactly like the one before it––and the news gets increasingly worse, I wonder when we’ll see the light at the end of this tunnel.

I realize that I am blessed to be here with my husband and our three cats. That is what I cling to, even as I worry that my next trip to the grocery store could possibly do me in.

The shopping falls on me because that’s how I want it as I’m in better shape than my husband. I’m light on my feet and I’m fast! I practically sprint through the store now.

I’ve tried to keep the trips to a minimum, but we need to eat, right? Too, I order items whenever possible to keep my exposure at a minimum.

The good news: We have plenty of toilet paper.

When I do go out, I cover my face, like any rational human being should, and I also wear gloves, sometimes my winter gloves.

Anger is a common emotion for me these days, especially when I see people shopping without any protection at all. It’s unconscionable, frankly. What are they thinking? That they’re immortal? Or to they just not give a damn?

I mentioned “winter gloves.” In the Chicago area, it almost feels as if the weather is supporting the pandemic. We’re moving into May and it’s raw, wet and dark here.

Every day: Dark. But I know that when the weather turns, and it will, my husband and I will take a renewed enjoyment in our deck.

Tuning into the news has become particularly stressful as I cannot imagine how it will be when some states open up and others do not. Civil war is a very real possibility.

Yesterday, as I watched the Mayor of Las Vegas get skewered and rightly so, by CNN’s Anderson Cooper, because she wants to open all casinos, I felt like my sense of reality was slipping away. My mind’s defense mechanism, perhaps.

Oh, yeah. I had a whole bunch of “silver linings” in my story. You know the drill: More time to work out and get fit. More time to declutter. More time to spend with whoever the hell you live with. More time to yada, yada, yada.

The “declutter” focus I particularly love as I’ve not gotten around to doing any of it. It’s weird: Some days I wake with an almost manic amount of energy and others…I have to force myself to go through the motions.

I keep the house clean. I work out. I write and then I write some more. That’s my “loop.”

What about you? Do you have a loop? Days where you’re on autopilot?

Writing certainly helps. I can bleed out whatever I’m feeling and let it soak the page. Red is my favorite color, after all.

I can air my feelings in this community and know that I won’t be judged. That is a gift. And I appreciate every single one of you, here. This funk I’m in will lift, I’m certain. But I’m just as certain that it will return. Meanwhile, I have you to pour my heart out to.

I hope that’s okay. Even more important, I hope that you’re okay and staying strong. What else can we do?

Declutter, I guess. 😉


Sherry McGuinn
Sherry McGuinn
Sherry McGuinn is a long-time, Chicago area, advertising/marketing writer, blogger and, for the last fifteen years, screenwriter. A big-time dreamer and proud of it, Sherry has had two short films produced, one in L.A., the other in New York. Both won several awards and screened at festivals but she is still "fighting the good fight," in order to become a full-time, working screenwriter. A passionate straight-shooter who never rests on her laurels, Sherry writes about damn near everything because how do you encapsulate…life? Unflinching in her determination to “just tell the truth,” Sherry strives to educate, engage and inspire others to follow their dreams. A lifelong animal lover and advocate, Sherry resides in a Chicago suburb with her husband and their three fabulous felines.

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  1. Sherry, I’m looping prayers with whatever other activity for the day.

    And I’m keeping my afternoon practice of writing a note for tomorrow . . .

    For quite a while now, the top line has not been the date (that’s generally second now).


    “calm, patient with myself”

    Thanks for your article, I clicked on it thinking to lift you up with a comment…

    In reading, I did laugh, so it did have silver linings that are evergreen.



    • That’s so kine of you, Cynthia, thanks so much. I know I’m not alone in my feelings and unfortunately, it’s only getting harder. You did lift me up and I appreciate that. And in turn, I’m glad I gave you a laugh! Stay safe and well.

  2. Such a great piece here, Sherry! You captured my sentiments exactly. It takes intention to remember that we have much to be grateful for when everything seems so upside down. I’m sharing your “funk space” this week and I appreciate your putting that in words for me. This community has been one of support and connection. Even when I go off the grid for a few days, good people are still here for me when I get back. We will get through this… and we’ll get through it together!

    • You’re absolutely right, Melissa! We will get through this, together! I’ve been going off the grid a lot so I’m truly grateful that, as you said, this community is here for us when we get back. Thank you!

  3. Sherry I love how real you are! Funnily I was in a summit called , The Silver Lining Summit and my topic was 3 Tips to Find the Silver Lining in Every Situation:) However, I am holding space for you here and will not try and change your mind. Lean into those emotions when they come knowing that they only last 90 seconds. Allow yourself you completely embrace the emotion without allowing your mind to ruminate on the negativity. If you are feeling continuously miserable, it is a choice. So whilst you may be all out of silver linings, don’t lose heart.

    Going back to my gratitude list article yesterday, replace your negative thoughts with 2 things you are grateful for…then 3…then 4.

    In fact, we require 5-7 positive thoughts to overcome one negative thought.

    You have the love of your husband and your cats that’s 4 positives right there;)

    • Thank you, Cordelia! Actually, I feel pretty good today. I’ve been tackling spring projects that I’ve been “meaning” to do, but it’s been so cold around here that I’ve put them off. Today, it’s sunny and in the 70s and I swept and hosed off the deck, put out the furniture and tackled other projects. I’m finding that keeping busy helps me.

      I appreciate your suggestions and will definitely incorporate them into my life. Stay safe and thanks, again

  4. Sherry — I actually found your post comforting as in “Others are thinking and going through what I’m thinking and going through.” Add a sentence or two about feelings of guilt and you’d have it:

    Choose as many as apply:
    ___ for those who are sick, and I’m not
    ___ for those who have died, and I haven’t
    ___ for the overworked first responders working without sufficient PPE
    ___ for the delivery people who bring bags of food right to our door (Hey, but where’s your mask?!)
    ___ for the millions of people who have lost their jobs

    I could go on….

    I get “loops.” What day is it now?

    But like Susan’s earlier comment, I’m finding I have the time to think – or I’m taking the time to think. I have the time to do “that thing” that I was putting off. And I have the time to wonder why I was putting it off.

    And suddenly (Wha?) my Muse has shown up – with her mask – and together we’ve cranked out three articles here in as many weeks. I’m OK with “silver linings.”

    Anyway, I always appreciate your honesty.

    Hey, there has to be a screenplay in here somewhere, right? Get busy!

    • Hi, Jeff. Thank you, my friend. Actually, my muse, like yours, has been quite active, as well.
      I think that if I get to those tasks that I keep promising myself that I’ll do, I’ll come out of this fog.

      It’s funny you mentioned the screenplay as that has been on my mind for a while, now! The trick is to come up with a different “hook,” as you know there will be a ton of them, once Hollywood gets moving again.

      Thanks for the inspiration. As always.

  5. Sherry I hear you and know that the “funk” cloud can be consuming.
    In a strange way, I feel like all of the sh*t I’ve gone through in the past few years has prepared me to be ok with this current twilight zone type of existence. There is so much to deal with – our emotions and behavior as well as the emotions and behavior of others. And then there’s those big uncertainties; when will this end? will I get Covid and die? Is my family safe? Will I go broke? Will we run out of food? Should I be ingesting disinfectants? (just a little Covid humor to lighten things up).
    I really do get what your are feeling and it’s understandable. I too offer you my time and full attention if you want to share, vent, brainstorm and even laugh.
    I will also share with you some of the things that keep me out of the funk cloud;
    – Creativity – not just the type that’s called work, but other things like baking, rearranging furniture, coloring, brainstorming fun trip ideas with friends or your spouse ….
    – Humor – It may sound strange, but a lot of what is going on can be viewed from a humorous perspective. I know it’s very serious in the big scheme of things. But I think it’s okay to make jokes with your friends and spouse, laugh at the funny stuff, listen to comedians, or late night shows and laugh about some of this – just don’t post it on Social Media if your not up for a fight.
    – Censor your social media – it’s compelling but you don’t have to read every post and the comments as well as listen to every news report and podcast. Consider pausing some of the conversations in your feed for 30 days if you can’t just scroll past them. Reduce the exposure to the other stuff too. It will be there later if you want it. Seek out the stuff that nurishes you and helps you grow along with the stuff that is fun and distracting.
    – Go virtual – It’s not for everyone, but I am loving my daily Zoom calls with old and new friends. I’ve joined a few virtual communities with shared interests and find this enriching too.
    – Perspective – You and I can’t control this virus but we can do what we believe is best to protect ourselves and build up our immune systems. Pay attention to how much of your energy goes into trying to solve this problem and pull back to what you can control.
    – Compassion – THIS IS A BIG ONE – Rather than rage and bitch about what other’s are doing, consider what is going on in their lives that causes them to behave that way – it’s the same fear, desire for certainty, and frustration alot of us are experiencing. Unfortunately, they react in ways that we don’t agree with and annoy us. There probably is not much space between stimulus and response for a lot of people right now.
    Thanks for creating the space for this discussion.
    You are not alone.

    • Oh, Susan, you amaze me, I’m going to take a little longer to let your comments sink in before I respond. They deserve nothing less. Also, I seem to be going to bed earlier every night, so stay tuned tomorrow. And, thank you.

  6. Sherry, thank you for sharing your article. Unquestionably this is the darkest and scariest time most of us can remember. There is and should be anger at certain politicians but most of all there should be tremendous anger towards the government of China and WHO. our thoughts more than occasionally to ‘when is this going to end?’ Life sooner or later must return to normal. I feel for the loved ones of patients in the hospital who are dying alone nor have nobody that is allowed to visit them to help them when the nursing staff is overwhelmed. Each of us has to deal with this situation as best as they can. I am fortunate to be able to work from home while trying to build my business. My wife and I have been getting a ton of love and support from our fellow members of the Orthodox Jewish Community. That alone has been a blessing not to mention our own silver lining knowing that there are people out there that want to help. Yet there is the sadness from not being able to be around people or have visitors come to our homes. The daily predictions of doom and gloom courtesy of the media do not help things any nor do some of the corrupt careless and selfish politicians (except for President Trump) who are doing whatever they can for themselves. I hope you are safe and well. Take care!

    • Thanks so much, Joel. I appreciate that and am happy to hear that you and your family are doing well. One of the points I neglected to put in my story is this: When you get to a certain age, “losing a season,” like this summer, or even fall is hard to contemplate. If you’re in your 20s, 30s, or even 40s, you can think “there’s always next year.” I hope I’m not overstating things, but does that make sense? That said, thank God, we can at least go out on our decks, or in our yards, etc. Thanks, again.

  7. Sherry, I certainly appreciate the way you’re feeling. None of us receives very good training in contending with uncertainty. It may be slightly easier for me because I’m inclined to look ahead anyway. What’s next? What can I be creating? I don’t know if you ever saw this, but I hope it helps:

    I’m happy you know you can vent here. This community is quite singular in that regard. And I hope you continue to lean on all of us out here who support you. I’m the guy in the front row with his hand up.

    Thank you for being so genuinely you.

    • Oh, thanks so much, Mark. I know you’re out front and I’m grateful. I haven’t read that but I certainly will!

  8. Sherry, I really appreciate your honesty here because though I lean towards positivity, I also know what the full range of human emotions are and I access them regularly even all within 45 minutes. I will go from crying to crabbing a bit then to laughing as I bear witness to the rollercoaster I place myself on… We’re in a both/and and everything in between. Because I’ve lived through so much hard, hard, holy hell hard for what seemed like an eternity, I’ve managed to cultivate this deep introspective part, this inner fly on the wall that watches me and the rest of the world from a comfy couch of peace and non-judgment leaning into the impermanence of all of it. I know I’m the internal one who can make choices to shift my world from the inside out. This helps me immensely. And I know you just needed safe space to download. I feel you. I see you. I hear you. This is such a weirdly challenging time. I remind myself that cigarette smokers make choices that I wouldn’t make (and I know it is an addiction). I’m working to see other people’s choices through that same lens. Still tough when we know that the actions or Inactions of others can impact our lives-for the better or for the worse because this virus is not discriminating at all…

    • Oh, Lsura, this comment is like getting a warm hug. I was actually worried about what you would think of this story, as you are such a positive presence here and I do appreciate it. Thank you so much for being the wonderful person you are. It felt good to be able to share how I’ve been feeling. I do feel better, today. Thank yiu, dear.

  9. Loops are good. My days, pretty much resemble one another-and I have to admit I am a creature of habit. I find peace in habits, and getting things done that way. I’m not good at spur of the moment things.
    I love those moments where you are just feeling light and quick-that good energy.
    I look out my window a lot and see the clear unpolluted air and that makes me happy, because there are fewer cars out. The little silver linings you have to search for and hang on to.
    Nice piece Sherry, as usual! 🙂

  10. I (literally) am writing a book about “silver linings” and how much I hate that term, just generally, anyway. While I *do* endorse positivity, I also endorse authenticity, and there is plenty of space in our world for more than one emotion and even multiple emotions that conflict with each other and make us feel… whatever the heck we feel! Thank you for sharing your *truth*, and for making it that much MORE Ok for the rest of us to have very real, very human experiences too! (and I’m SO with you on the weather.. these random spring afternoons we keep getting as teasers are annoying!! lol)

    • Thank you, Sarah, so much. I’m happy that you get where I’m coming from. Sometimes, it’s just too hard to pretend.