This essay is a little bit more personal. I’m laying my struggle of wanting to do too much and ending up doing nothing, out in front of you.
Experiencing Lockdown has taught us all a lesson in one way or another. In whichever way it might’ve affected us, it’s safe to say that we’re all sick of the lockdown experience by now. I can’t bother to watch films or read or do anything I usually don’t have enough time to do anyway. I’m no longer in the mood for most things, and the things I crave and want to do aren’t possible at the moment, for good reason. However, it does put a strain on us if we end up feeling imprisoned in our own four walls or even our own mind. I long for my friends, for birthdays, for parties and for connection. I would’ve never guessed that I could crave experiences like concerts or cinemas as much as I do.
Needless to say that I’d love to see improvement in the world and don’t wish to return to the old status quo. My hope is that we won't act like a bunch of brain-dead zombies that glorify the good old days and deny to find fault in them. It would be detrimental to ignore the revelations we have experienced. Finding balance between our old life and putting what we have learned to use is something we will figure out.
I've come to realise that by filling my head with nothing but the world’s worries is neither healthy nor helpful. I alone will not be the one who must fix the world, and thus I am not able to rest all these struggles upon only my shoulders. You know that, and I do too in a way. Yet, I still struggle to not overconsume the news that only adds to the systemic issues we all already live with. Even so, it seems like I can’t do anything else. I’m glued to the screen taking in news and announcements as soon as they pop up. Wasting so much time and energy on bad things has exhausted me for the long run.
When I decided to take a break for a semester after getting my degree, I got to experience the stress a break can bring. I miss the distraction that University offers. It isn't merely a distraction but also an essential tool to learn and grow, and that is something I miss dearly. Realising that I now have more time than ever, led to feeling nothing but overwhelmed.
The gates of my brain opened and let all the ideas roam into my head. I got so overpowered by the endless possibilities that my mind went blank shortly after that. Having gotten used to deadlines is something that makes not slacking off difficult.
Focusing on my future became something even more worrying than it already was. People posting endless amounts of tips on how to be more productive is nothing but stressful. There was something of a counter-culture movement at the beginning of the pandemic. Some pointed out how misplaced this form of thinking is during a global crisis. But during the second lockdown most of that has disappeared. Now everything is more than ever about making your place in the world and getting that bank as soon as you can. Which - don’t get me wrong, if you can, go for it, make money and be successful! It is what this system is all about and if you’re able to have a good life because of that, then that’s a good thing. What troubles me is the inherent capitalist thought that underlies this rhetoric. Posting motivational quotes that try to push you to make the most of your time to be successful can be nice. But most of the time, they indoctrinate the belief of not being worth anything if you aren’t productive.
Rather than feeling relief from getting to have a break, I’ve found that I feel guilty for being able to do so. Instead of finding relief in this short amount of time that I am free to shape I’m getting more stressed with each day. There is a pressure to have a clear vision for my future, which I simply do not have. And this is something that isn't seen as acceptable. I go over my possibilities and am grateful that I have so many but feel once again overwhelmed by them. Options, it seems, are nice but when available in abundance make it harder to choose the “right” one.
Choosing the “right path” is something so obnoxious in and of itself. Options that present themselves to you always depend on your circumstances. Going about and judging others for their choices is nothing but ignorant. Since you would have never been in their exact same situation, you aren't entitled to judge. If someone ever says something like that to you, remember that they have no idea what they’re talking about. They're not in the same position as you are and they only talk to run their mouth.
Being confident in your own choices matters, especially since you’re the one that has to live with them. Whether you choose many things all at once or do nothing at all and take a step back for a while. Whatever you choose is valid, and you’ll figure it out as you go along.
drawing by pigwire