Lest we Forget What Lockdown Taught us
Reality is a blunt and bossy brute, everything sucks, and lockdown was a bootcamp for brains. Ouch, right? Mine was already wobbly with chronic depression and now it’s like Jello melting in the Dutch sun.
Still, I seem to be optimizing life while self-actualizing without my initial knowledge and despite myself so if it’s happening to me, chances are it might be happening to you, too.
We cut the crap and make life happen, somehow, and it goes like this:
#1 — unfold from the brace position
As long as you keep focusing on what happens next, the moment is never going to be right. Instead, you’ll remain restless, frustrated, and cranky. It compounds. You’re scared, so what? Waste of time.
Can you protect yourself against something that doesn’t exist yet? Nope. But you can protect yourself against ruminating.
Chew on possibilities and pistachio nuts, not potential disasters.
#2 — treat a blank slate as a gift
Well, shit. You got the blank slate you so often wished for it courtesy of a pandemic but now you don’t want it. Normal isn’t coming back though. And no one is building a time machine. Is blank daunting or daring?
Why sit there and wait for someone else to write the next chapter of your life? Grab a pen instead.
Write up what could be instead of what is.
#3 — make the effort to find the words
Chaos and confusion aren’t conducive to clarity. Forcing yourself to record, articulate, and document them is how you begin to parse the situation. Gather as many dots as you can. Do they look like confetti or rabbit droppings?
Why force yourself to process the nonsensical until you’ve sorted through feelings, thoughts, and ideas?
Reflect out loud in print, see what picture emerges.
#4 — understand creativity and ingenuity are reflexes
You never knew you had it in you to navigate the epic shit show that is 2020 in circumstances best described as unfavorable if not tragic. But you did it and you’re still doing it so trust you know what to do. Necessity has inbuilt magic.
Why keep clinging to metrics that no longer exist or definitions that no apply? You can redefine what matters most to you instead.
Honor and celebrate what money can’t buy.
#5 — cherish human warmth above all else
Your resilience has names beside your own, even if you’re as isolated as can be. You live among people, you are people. We’re bound together by a common ecosystem, including — but not limited to — the internet.
You can’t withhold human warmth any more than you can withhold your breath, it is innate, you’re it too.
Couple attention with the intent of connection.
Nothing has actually changed in the way we survive.
We’ve always been winging it, making it up as we go along but our illusions gave us a sense of presence, purpose, and power. What changed during lockdown is our perception of life. We found out we weren’t always who we thought we were or even who we wanted to be, individually and collectively.
We. The collective. Us.
Awakenings are intensifying.
Epiphanies can power change, prevent stagnation, and lead us toward a gentler, more equitable, more generous future.
Reverting back to what was is impossible; it’s gone and good riddance.
Now let’s finish the job.
I’m a French-American writer, journalist, and editor now based in the Netherlands. To continue the conversation, follow the bird. For email and everything else, deets in bio.