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Sorry! I’m Not Ready

A Poem by Dr. Barry Lubetkin



Could Neil Armstrong have felt more exuberant than I,


When his feet touched the lunar surface,


And mine led me into a steakhouse,


After freezing and craving outside for a year,


And scowling at CLOSED?





But Neil rocketed his joy


All the way back.


I did not.

The reset has arrived but I’m not ready.




Who are these strangers gorging around me? Where have they all been?


I don’t care.


The laughter and noise and gossip does not move me.


Have I learned to covet aloneness? Me, the life of the party?


The reset has arrived but I’m not ready.





Patients say that they’re anxious for real time with me.
“

We’ve had our vaccines; let’s drop the ZOOM!” And I resist.




I want to counsel in just my socks, no shoes, hair not properly combed,


No Uber, no rushing, no office.




Am I tricking myself?


Has the remoteness made me a better therapist?


The reset has arrived but I’m not ready.




And all the friends I thought I missed.


Have I really needed them so much?


The “two shotters” want to hug, and kiss, and talk, and party.


Oh! Do they want to party!




I loved the alone time, the space, the quiet.


Have I become the old man in his cabin at the top of the mountain?


The reset has arrived but I’m not ready.




And the guilt of wasted time that now turns my gut.


The talking heads call it Covid exhaustion.

”
What was I thinking as I turned away from reading and creating and embraced reality TV?





I used to be a doer. I welcomed challenges.


The year of emptiness and sadness and loss wrecked that part of me.


I betrayed my trust in who I needed to be.


And now I struggle to reclaim myself.




The reset has arrived but I’m not ready.


Barry Lubetkin, Ph.D. is the co-director and co-founder of the Institute for Behavior Therapy in New York City. The Institute for Behavior Therapy is the oldest private cognitive behavior center in the United States.

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