How people on the internet seem to be coping during a pandemic:
Starting a TikTok
Reminding people to be productive by mentioning how Shakespeare wrote King Lear during a plague
Fighting back against said obsession with productivity
Contributing to a blog of media folks writing about inane things
Sharing old photos taken outside to remind people what nature looks like
Posting stories of WFH setup, cooked meal, play activity, on repeat
It’s rare nowadays to see a global crisis affect everyone so rapidly. Of course there is a wide spectrum in how much we are affected—on one end there is convenience, not being able to get toilet paper at a regular price or have your usual work setup; on the other end there is job loss, instability, health concerns.
If you are relatively young, don’t have kids or family to take care of, and are in somewhat stable financial circumstances (I think that is probably most of you): outside of work, how have you been spending time lately? I am genuinely curious and there is no subpar answer, whether you’ve been sleeping a lot or doing edibles or Marco Polo-ing your friends or trying a new video game or letting Youtube autoplay do its thing. Or maybe you’re legitimately “doing nothing” at all, in which case much applause for being on your way to a non-broken brain!
At the beginning of March I started publishing new interviews on Modern Doing every week. Though this is a passion project that I’ve been working on for months, my motivation has plummeted with the rise of coronavirus. The project is about meaningful work and purpose, situated at the top of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and therefore the first to go out the window when our other needs (physical needs, safety, social/belonging) are at risk. I haven’t been wanting to promote any new interviews when it feels hollow to do so right now. Instead I have spent my free time playing like I’m a teenager again—messing around on Photoshop, starting a new puzzle, and watching the silliest of Korean dramas.
If during this time you’ve felt pressure to adhere to timelines, frustration that you can’t do what you want when you want, or guilt over lack of motivation and focus, the world is saying pretty clearly: let it go. It can wait. Things don’t have to make sense. You don’t always have to be doing and growing. You can just be.