I don’t know about you, but I’ve noticed that the past few weeks have been a little more…gloomy and tense than usual.
I think what we have here is the doom trifecta: the weather is getting a bit dismal, our personal lives are being really disrupted by everything going on, and on the global stage we’re looking at some pretty serious social and political deterioration. It’s pretty easy to feel like things are bad, getting worse, and might never be okay ever again. Is anyone else with me here? Are we all feeling kind of low-grade awful right now?
This is what’s difficult: we can’t change the weather. Although many of us are in denial about it, we can’t really change the fact that Covid cases are rising and that we may very well be in for a lonely and isolated holiday season. And if you’ve already voted, donated and/or volunteered, and talked to indecisive friends and family about their voting options, you’ve done what you can do on the global stage. In the grand scheme of things, it can be really jarring and depressing to realize how powerless we really are, and how little control we have over our future and the trajectory of our lives.
The difficult truth here is that we have always been powerless and we have never been in control. You can make all the best choices, hedge your bets, pad your buffer, and pay your taxes early–and you still can’t ensure that you’ll be free from everything falling apart. This has ALWAYS been true, even prior to 2020. But a lot of us have been able to believe that we had a lot more control than was entirely accurate, and now we’re sitting here looking at all the cold drizzle while we try to make a bat costume out of old towels while wondering what the point is, really, since chances are pretty good the whole United States is going to get sucked into a hurricornadoquake in a few weeks anyway.
Here’s the thing: when I was little and I learned that the dinosaurs went extinct in a catastrophic event that wiped out life on the planet, I thought they really meant all life. I thought they meant it was the end of everything, rocks and dust, and that if it happened to the dinosaurs it could very well happen to us, and that was not okay at all. There were many nights of lost sleep over this. Well, that and the sharks I knew for a fact were waiting under the covers at the foot of my bed. When my son learned about dinosaurs, I realized that what had been so terrifying as a child was only partially true. Yes, things ended really dramatically and terribly for a lot of dinosaurs, but we still have chickens! And crocodiles. We have hermit crabs and little bitty floater plankton globbies and we have coelacanths. So not everything died–only the things that simply couldn’t survive. Some creatures were built for resilience and some weren’t. Some of the smallest, most insignificant and powerless beings were the ones that paved the way for life as we now know it. Not so insignificant after all!
If you’ve had things fall apart, even a little, you already have a head start in Surviving 101. You know how to hold on, keep your head on straight. You’re looking at what you can do and completely letting go of the things you can’t control. You’re focusing on the basics: sleep, food, and stability. And you’re purposefully making a list of the things that make you feel calm and good, and doing them. (Also, you know you need to stop scrolling and start doing breathing exercises. You know this.) If it’s too hard, you know how to ask for help. And if you haven’t had things fall apart, that’s AWESOME, because you’re going to learn how to survive like you’re in Everything is Awful Bootcamp!! You’ll discover skills you never knew you had! You’ll finally learn how to cook dried beans and save money!! BAM.
For us at the Smut Report, we’ve chosen to get back to basics. We read what feels good to read, and we don’t read things that are meh or bleh. We don’t care about our NetGalley stats, we’ve chosen to let go of social media pushes, and we have no agenda. We just want to read romance novels for the pure joy of it. It feels good, and it makes us kinder and better people. Our zingers and quips will be ready and waiting when things are steady and chill again.
Curate your life so it looks the way you want to feel and then just let it be. It’ll be okay, my little hermit crab.