At the risk of stating what is blindingly obvious, there is nothing fun about the time we’re living through.
Even if you’re one of the very privileged among us who has avoided sickness, financial calamity, or worse… the pandemic has closed off many of our normal outlets for relief and mental breaks.
The most fun things we’re able to do these days to take a break feel like sad approximations of actually-fun things we previously enjoyed. Even the few activities that are still available to us (walks in the park, reading, video games, writing) are shadowed by dread.
We all need a break. And the means of taking a real break have vanished.
It’s tempting to escape into distractions, which are still endlessly available.
We can still scroll Twitter with half-lidded eyes for the latest identical article about the coronavirus. We can still argue about politics with our high school classmates on Facebook. We can still watch cable news repeat the exact same things they said the day before only with a more devastating death toll.
But there’s something more important that hasn’t disappeared. Meaning.
I don’t envy my friends with kids juggling work stress/uncertainty and home schooling, but even the most stretched acknowledge that the extra time they’re getting with their kids is worth it.
We’re in touch with friends and family we lost touch with, whose support means more than ever. We’re even in touch with our exes!
Connection is meaningful. Creating something you believe in is meaningful.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life it’s that distractions never save you. At best they kill time, at worst they poison your mood and make it that much harder to truly recover.
What does help, if you’re privileged enough to have the space to do it, is investing in meaning.
If you can block out the distractions and focus on meaning, you’ll feel better now. You’ll feel even better when you finally finish that novel.
Block out the distractions. Write.
Do whatever you need to get through the day, but investing in meaning is the best way through this.
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Art: Detail of The Girl I Left Behind Me by Eastman Johnson
Neil Larkins says
Here’s what I’ve done for meaning, Nathan. Smashwords carries my two ebooks and offered me and its other authors to participate in the Authors Give Back sale. So as a way to help all who are struggling for meaning in today’s crazy world, I’ve made my books available for FREE! until May 21, 2020. I informed all my facebook friends and have already made several “sales.” I’ve never made any money on those books anyway so it doesn’t bother me to have done this. If they give someone a lift, however small, then I’ll gain a satisfaction that mere money cannot buy. Thanks.
Nathan Bransford says
Lovely and inspiring.