It’s been a while.
Things are different since I last found myself typing words for the purpose of publishing them here. Time passed. A whole world changed.
The funny thing about time is that it can morph our interpretations of bizarre situations into ones of normalcy. Mankind’s new routine is as humdrum as before coronavirus’ influence became society’s great umbrella. We really can’t shake our knack for adaptability. Though getting here was no easy feat.
The first weeks of the pandemic felt akin to a dream. Everyday more news of death and devastation in the world’s great cities. Grotesque images of bodies in bags, semi-trailers repurposed as fridges for covid victims, empty streets all over the globe. The saga breached realms once reserved for speculative fiction and history books. Our present became a mix of past and futuristic horrors akin to a poorly written episode of Black Mirror.
How could such a far-reaching catastrophe be happening in a modern world? With modern tech and superior medicine, mankind still failed. Days of mourning, wallowing, disbelieving faded, ultimately, into an acceptance of the circumstances. A melancholy surrender to the nature of time and the nature of a rampant and invisible killer was issued in silence and without protest.
Melancholy can sap much from its sufferers. I was a victim to it– lost all my desire to create the sorts of streams of consciousness that once came easy. My mind was too preoccupied, enslaved to the headlines. To write anything became a chore–a task I forced myself to attempt for at least a bit of time a day. Nothing became of these brain strains. The universal theme of all those throwaway attempts was this fear of stagnation in the midst of quarantine.
The pressure of having so much free time to produce things had a profound effect. Instead of spending my time creating, the pandemic plunged me into a state of creative arrest. )(Every time I took a pen to paper, the paragraphs I produced were as good as garbage. Frustration compelled me to drop off the practice and trash the work. Mediocre mediocre mediocre. The world was suffering. My contributions would do little to ease that pain.
This perception added to the fear of impending stagnation. I was hung up on this idea that my level in writing was unacceptable. Like I didn’t deserve to put any of it out there at all. This shouldn’t be. Not during quarantine.
A recurring idea that’s being thrown about nowadays is self-betterment. Now is the perfect time to build your idealest version of you. Quarantine offers us free time we never had before. Shouldn’t we be using it for learning languages, writing novels, creating masterpiece personal projects? Those who wallow are wasting this unique period of forced isolation. We should all emerge from this as gurus; masters of some trade or ideology or foreign culture. Build the next Renaissance, people!
Logistically, it should be easy. Days start and end with the same 14 hours as before. The kicker is that these 14 hours are now spent in relative isolation for the majority of us. It’s a me, myself and I sort of thing. One that’s government mandated. All of this alone time is supposed to be the perfect incubator for the next great human achievement. I see the most motivational of society’s entrepreneurs making examples out of our present-day business goliaths. See how they blossomed amidst the last great recession? AirBnb, Uber, WhatsApp, Slack. The list goes.
This is the time for innovation, they say! Yet many of us feel adrift in stormy waters. It’s a depressing reality; an unprecedented one. The media paints it as our potential end, gets off on using apocalyptic terms whenever relating to COVID19. It began as a hysterical, unbelievable plague. It exists now as an unrelenting overcast sky. Tolerable, depressing.
Time normalizes the strange until it is no longer so.
Take your steps back from reality to recalibrate for a moment. Indulge in simple pleasures to stay sane. Time lends a healing touch, slowly but surely. The amount needed varies from person to person.
One thing is for certain with this idea. The time needed to adjust is finite. An end must come and the will to continue must be uprooted from its place buried underground. I think I managed only recently to breathe life back into my days. Lows kept me lost at sea. A will to rediscover life’s highs compelled me to dive in and swim to shore.