There is a lot of talk right now about what an opportunity we have at this moment.
With most people staying home, and with all of the usual outside-the-house entertainments shut down, many are finding themselves with record amounts of time. So of course there are productivity gurus and hyperdriven experts who exhort everyone to make the most of this precious time.
Learn a new hobby.
Bake a cake.
Take walks outside.*
This is great, logical advice. As a type A, generally overproductive (or at least overplanning) person, I get it, and I would love to endorse it.
Logic says, “Look at this abundance of time with no requirements on it, no obligations. Rejoice in this gift!”
Reality says, “What a f*&$ing nightmare. Just how deadly is this virus? Are my parents okay? Should they even be going out to do their grocery shopping? Why is all the Vitamin C gone? The flour, yeast, rice, and beans — gone? What will happen to the small businesses that have had to shut down? Will they be able to return? What about the schools — what kind of education will kids get? If someone I love gets injured or non-COVID-19 sick, will they be able to get the care they need? Am I going to lose my job? How will I pay the mortgage? Will the supply lines eventually close because too many drivers get sick? Will this ever end, and if it does, what will be the consequences?”
All of which is to say that for all of the ‘make the most of this time’ for many of us, it’s just too damn stressful. We simply do not have the mental bandwidth to take on anything new because EVERY THING IS NEW.
Going grocery shopping is a different experience every time I go. What are today’s hours? What’s in stock? What’s the current queuing process?
Getting gas for my car is a different experience every time I go. What are today’s hours? Those seem to vary.
Even watching TV is a different experience because schedules change to adapt to children being home all day.
With this constant flux and uncertainty, it takes a toll.
If you weren’t already exhausted before the pandemic, all the chaos that has since ensued surely hasn’t helped.
So I’m not making the most of this abundance of time. At least not in a Getting Things Done/Do All The Things sense.
I’m listening to music.
I’m contacting old friends.
I am doing my best to turn off all screens and sit with paper and pen, staring out the window.
I am eating what sounds good (which is a lot of comfort food), and drinking what suits my mood.
I am trying to be kind to myself and understand that yes, this is an extraordinary time.
And yes, it’s okay to do nothing.
No, really. It is.
So do what you need to do to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
And let the rest go.
*Shouldn’t we be doing these things even in normal times?