What do I control?

Nothing has all of the ingredients for the emotional breakdown recipe quite like a pandemic-induced global shutdown. Lack of face-to-face socializing and general social isolation? Check. Financial uncertainty and mass unemployment? Check. Lack of regular exercise, sunlight, and access to basic necessities? Check. High uncertainty of one’s safety and security in the near future? Check. Tons of free-time to refresh news feeds five thousand times per day? Double check.

~ Mark Manson from, https://markmanson.net/coronavirus-mental-health-crisis

If ever there was a yawning opportunity to backslide on all the things I’ve changed in recent years—setting aside time for reflection, reading, boundaries with television and food, habits of movement and exercise, how I use the Internet (it no longer uses me,) writing, recording podcasts, … If ever there was a yawning opportunity to backslide, this current shift is it.

I still have people I care about. I make decisions about my health. I make choices using my mind by applying reason. I balance conflicting demands for my time and resources. Certainly, most of the day-to-day details of life writ large are different. But all the things which begin this paragraph remain unchanged for me.

WAIT. Why did I start with pointing out there’s a yawning opportunity to backslide, if I’m saying nothing has changed?

…because the rest of world has relaxed what it expects from me.

Think about that. If I veered and: stayed up late binge-watching Netflix, didn’t get up at the time I normally do, didn’t shower and shave when I have video calls, didn’t act professionally, etc., people would let it slide. Right? The world is facing a global crisis, so it’s ok to relax the standards.

Instead, I’m raising my standards for myself. Now, just when everyone else would be happy to give me more slack, I’m renewing my efforts; Do I really want to do this (whatever-it-is), or is there a better way I can spend my time right now? What relationships do I nurture, and which do I sever? What have I been reading? What have I been creating; does what I create build the world up or tear it down?