How’re y’all doin’, m’friends?
It’s mid-April already. Somehow March felt like it took an eternity, and April feels like it’s flying by. Time is a weird inconstant thing that I think just messes with my head more and more as I get older.
But seriously. How are you all doing? This has been a damn hard time, and I want to know how you’re holding up.
Me, I’m still a weird mix of stressed and “this is just normal.” I spend most of my days inside anyway. I’m unemployed and have few meatspace friends and life sans pandemic is often spent the same way it is now. I stay in, I do my stuff, I communicate with friends online, and just keep going as I often do.
Then I look at the news and see the numbers rising, and remember that oh yeah, right now I was supposed to be visiting family in the UK, being able to see my 85 year old grandmother for probably the last time because these trips are expensive and all, and I had to cancel that because, well, *gestures*. Sometimes the stress just builds up to the point where I have to cry and I think to myself, “I’m not even supposed to be here,” and it all feels like it’s spiraling out of control and life will never actually be normal again.
I’m in a very lucky place right now, and I know it. For my life to not change that much means I’m probably doing better than people who are used to being out of their homes the majority of the time. My partner is currently sitting on the couch and setting up things for the next class he has to teach this afternoon, and I think how lucky we both are that he can do this, because a year ago, he was working in a hospital lab, and being the overnight tech meant that he was the one who drew blood from patients. Were it not for a chance encounter one day, meeting someone who mentioned they were part of a college that was setting up a new med lab tech program and oh hey, you’re interested in teaching, well send us a resume then… Yeah, if not for that, then my partner would be on the front lines.
Now granted, that would be on Prince Edward Island, where they’ve had only slightly over 2 dozen cases and only yesterday declared a state of emergency. There are perverse upsides to a province having nearly half of its population live in rural areas. But still. Were it not for him getting the teaching job, he’d still be living in a friend’s spare bedroom, working overnights at a hospital and being in a risky field, I’d be living by myself in another city, and visiting would not be an option because all non-essential travel between provinces has been stopped.
Life would be very different. We are very fucking lucky. I can’t allow myself to forget that.
Not when people have gone weeks without seeing their significant others, or have lost family members. We’re all living in a very uncertain time, we don’t know how bad this will get or how long it will last or the things and people we’ll lose along the way.
It’s the uncertainty that wears on me the most, I think. My motivation has been utterly sapped. I’ve been trying to work on videos, but half the time I just can’t be bothered, and then I beat myself up because I should be doing something productive, not just… [insert whatever I’m not deeming as ‘productive’ here]. I try to read, and my attention wanders. I see people learning new skills and cooking really awesome foods and I’m like, “That’s cool; I just ordered McDonald’s for the third time in two weeks.”
I keep trying to tell myself that feeling this way is okay, because society is changing around me and uncertainty means that mentally and emotionally, we don’t know what to do because we don’t know what’s worth taking the time and energy on when things could change tomorrow.
I also keep telling myself that come on, it’s been weeks now, surely you must be used to it by now, not much has changed for you, just get back to work.
…I hate my brain sometimes.
I think it’s normal to feel both things, because normal… kind of isn’t, right now. Normal is in a state of flux, this in-between point of, “Is it going to be like this for long enough that I need to make long-term adjustments?” and “Give it a couple of weeks and it’ll all be over, so I just need to cope for a little while longer and then things will go back to the way they were.” And we don’t know where on that timeline we are. We don’t know what’s worth taking the time to change, and what’s worth hanging on to. So we just kind of… exist.
I think that’s where a lot of my motivational problems stem from. Like a micro version of a macro problem. Just because a lot of my life’s patterns have stayed the same doesn’t mean I don’t still feel adrift in many ways. I would do the same things before as after the pandemic, but in many ways, I don’t know where that work fits into a larger pattern, because the larger pattern has gotten all jumbled up and distorted. If I could just feel a little bit certain about what the next month, for instance, would be like, then I could probably feel more comfortable about chugging along and not feeling so much at loose ends.
I wonder if that’s part of what’s driving other people’s lack of motivation, too. The discomfort of not knowing. Actively not knowing. Sure, we couldn’t really say at any given moment that oh, tomorrow I definitely won’t die, or a week from now, I’ll definitely still have a job, because that stuff can change. But assuming it was warranted, at least most of the time. But then huge factors started to change and up-ended our ideas of what everyday life was supposed to involve, and little seeds of doubt were planted in our minds, whispering to us that maybe it’s not even worth the effort to do a thing when tomorrow everything could change again just as drastically. What’s even the point?
…Wow, this blog post ended up in a different place than where it started.
I’m going to leave it here. Hopefully my pseudo-philosophical ramblings at least, uh, entertained someone? Always got to hope that! But let me know in the comments how you’re doing, whether that’s good or bad. Feel free to have a little ramble there yourself, if you want; it can be remarkable helpful sometimes.
Take care, stay safe, and I love you all.