The Gloom belongs to us

Men,

A few weeks ago (Months ago? How long have we been locked down again?), I was asked to Q at an in-person, but very strictly socially distant, workout. The mumblechatter was limited, but present, and the workout was adequate, but a little awkward. It was the COT that left an impression, though… I looked in the men’s faces, in their eyes, and they looked tired. Not “I just got a great workout” tired, but the kind of tired that sleep can’t fix. They looked beaten and weathered. I can only imagine how many of them feel now, these weeks later.

If I was a betting man, I’d say that this is probably the case in a lot of places. There is no question that for many of us this current situation is testing the limits of, well, a lot of things. Men feel ground down… Many are having to do things that they didn’t think they signed up for, like teaching kids at home, working at the dining room table, or working out by conference call.

Even as I write this, many elected officials are making announcements about how they intend to handle opening or continuing to delay the opening of their states and localities. Some of us may think that those places that are opening are reckless and foolhardy. Some of us may think that those that are extending their closures are ridiculous and are going to cause more harm than good. Still others of us may be of the opinion that this is all a big conspiracy from one end of the political spectrum designed to undermine and destroy the other end of the political spectrum. Here’s what I know for sure… no matter what we think we know or believe; the fact is that no one knows with absolute certainty exactly what’s happening out there. It’s frustrating to be sure. The answers are almost always more complicated and nuanced (if not obfuscated) than any of us would like. And as with anything, each side is both a little right and a little wrong. So, I think it best, and I am urging you to practice being able to disagree without being disagreeable. This isn’t the time to divide. (Nor is it necessarily the time to conquer)

Now that’s a long set up to say what I think needs to be said right now. I’ve been very impressed with the innovation and creativity that Pax are exhibiting using Zoom (or other means) to hold Virtual workouts with each other. That has been an amazing stopgap to decrease the rate of deceleration in our lives as we navigate the #Condition of Stay In Place Orders and the like. Some regions have modified the way that they are approaching the in-person workouts by practicing extreme social distancing, splitting when the group reaches a certain size and having extra Qs ready, just in case, so that they are in compliance with local guidelines and laws. You all have been trying to make the best of a bad situation, for sure. In previous letters to the Nation, I’ve advocated that we should do our best to comply with the guidance of our governments as well as the guidance of our local Nant’ans. That’s still the stand of F3 Nation. In addition, things are beginning to open up in more places and so that guidance is changing. I am seeing that many regions are beginning to make adjustments to their guidance already and I’m excited about that.

I feel it’s time to start having a plan for opening F3 for business again. Unfortunately, we can’t have the impact on one another or on the community virtually that we can in proximity. I’m in no way advocating that we violate any SIPO, law, ordinance, guideline, or sensibility of any municipality or Pax. The answers are custom to each region and, really, even each man. But like it or don’t, WE. ARE. LEADERS. And the Gloom belongs to us. I’m encouraging us to be on the front edge of whatever is allowable and safe. I’m encouraging us to, rather than yelling at another guy about what he’s doing, to stand firm in our own convictions and lead as we see fit. We will get much further in this (and everything else in life) if we can put aside our own egos and support one another (again, within the law) rather than tear down one another. Remember, you’re a little wrong and he’s a little right. But the thing that got you both out to F3 and the thing that keeps you out, ought to be the Mission. To Plant, Grow, and Serve small workout groups for men in order to invigorate male community leadership. The planting and the growing might not be as practical right now, but we sure as heck can Serve one another. I’ve been a SadClown, and in the interest of transparency, I’m struggling, just like we all are, to slow the tide of deceleration and not to feel isolated and alone during all this. The opportunity is before us. As Edmund Burke said, all it takes for Goo, or Evil, or whatever you call the opposing forces, to win is for good men to do nothing… From where I sit, that’s not an option for us.

SYITG,

The Darkest of All

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