Every one of my conversations this morning has started in the same way.
I have talked to people in my own house, people in different parts of my city, and people from outside the country. None of those conversations were supposed to be about politics or the U.S. presidential election (which was last night), but they were, and will most likely continue to be for the next few days.
The common observation is that everyone is tired; more than tired, in many cases, exhausted.
The close election is just another weight that is sitting on so many people's shoulders in a year full of weights being piled on.
Some are carrying those weights better than others, while some are feeling crushed under it all.
As an eternally positive person, a person to whom many friends and family members reach out when life starts to feel a little overwhelming to help them "flip the switch," I would like to say that things can only get better.
I'm an optimist, but I'm not stupid.
The Japanese say you have three faces. The first face, you show to the world. The second face, you show to your close friends, and your family. The third face, you never show anyone.
As a country, we have confirmed a dark and evil side to ourselves, and we have officially shown our third face; the face that many of us did not want to believe was there, but no longer can deny.
Although I will remain an optimist, because this too shall pass, I have a tight feeling in my chest today, as do many others both inside and outside of this country. I have feelings and thoughts that are on par with the ones that others usually feel or think before coming to me for advice or suggestions on how to calm down when stress and anxiety take over.
It is a feeling I will never forget, and I hope one that others will not forget either. For those are the feelings that move people to action to make it better, to make it less embarrassing, and to restore some of the hope in humanity that has been lost over the last 24 hours.