Facing The Lockdown Conundrum by Myself

How the world will try to make you feel when you are locked down inside your own home

Facing The Lockdown Conundrum by Myself
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How the world will try to make you feel when you are locked down inside your own home

As the quarantine stretches into its second week, I need to keep checking my journal to make sure I don’t lose track of how many days have passed. I find it harder and harder to wake up in the morning. There have been days when I get out of bed at 1 PM and skip straight to lunch without bothering about breakfast.

As for work, I have been putting it off till evening, sometimes till night, and most often, till tomorrow or two days later.

I figured this was probably due to spending whole days indoors and getting less exercise. But even before the lockdown, my work involved sitting for hours in front of a computer — writing, grading exam papers, or programming. What is the issue this time around, then?

Maybe this lack of activity, sunshine, and company is making me a little depressed?

But I have been depressed before. It is soul-crushing. It sucks the energy out of you, leaving you feeling that everything is worthless, like there is no point in working, in staying alive, even.

This time around, this lack of energy feels different.

I still enjoy my work. I am excited about it, even. In fact, at the start of the quarantine, I was so excited about my new book that I wrote 7667 words in a SINGLE DAY.

If I started on a new project with full enthusiasm, what happened now, then?

The problem, I figured, is not with my work. The problem is that there is SO much time to do it now.

Earlier on, there were classes to take, meetings to attend, appointments, calls, projects every day. In the evenings, there were social gatherings, dinners, meetings with friends, etc. When there were promises to stick to, there was a clear idea of how much time to devote to each activity, so I could complete each task on time.

But once the classes, appointments, meetings, social gatherings and family dinners are gone, there is no reason to get my work done in the morning. In fact, there is no reason why I should NOT postpone it till the evening, or for that matter, till the next day.

After all, nobody is going to find out, right?

Quarantine makes sure I am not accountable to anyone else.

The last time I felt this free was when I was in college. My 27-year-old body is not able to deal with this abundance of free time as effectively as my younger self had, and hence, this lethargy.

For the first time since forever, I wake up and see my entire day is empty — there is no agenda, no list of things to accomplish before I sleep, no tasks to check off on a to-do list. Sure, this sounds wonderful because all this extra time means I have opportunities to explore my passion and indulge in creative pursuits. On the other hand, I have no clue about what creative pursuit to indulge in and that is terrifying.

So there’s that — I have identified the problem. I call it the “Lockdown Conundrum”.

But what is the solution?

You see, just because some motivational pages on the internet keep urging me to not “waste” this time and be more “productive”, there is no need for me to pressurize myself, to keep beating myself up if I am not doing enough.

Yes, this lockdown is a brilliant opportunity to “explore myself” and “finish my ongoing projects”, but this is also a time to cool down, to take a break from life’s breakneck pace and BREATHE.

The world is consumed by a mad rush to produce more, to “invest in the future” — a rush fuelled by capitalism. But it is important to remember that we humans should not measure our self-worth by how “productive” we are.

It is wonderful on days when you manage to put in some work.

But on other days, you need to learn to forgive yourself if you feel lazy.

Not being productive does not mean you are not good enough.

And that, probably, is the solution to this lockdown conundrum.

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