1. Try to understand it all on a big scale. Like decades, or eons, even. Like, in the life span of the globe dinosaurs weren’t alive too long ago. Consider the scale of nature, before humans came along and fucked things up with our greed and arrogance and oil-lust and atomic bombs. Consider that planetary life will continue after pandemics and wars.
When the Bigger Thing Than Humans has been established (witness it in nature, see it animating all things, see it outliving our efforts and singing through art and history), connect to that thing. Feel transitory. Then go back to your truncated “reality.”
2. Notice… it still goes on. Savor the French press coffee. Watch the dry leaves clattering in the sea breeze against the curb. A harbinger of autumn. The bamboo has grown tall this year. The children are taller, capable of more abstract thought and recognizing sight words. The world does go on, even though the big pause button has been pushed. The cycles are still in motion, despite society’s relative standstill.
3. Don’t revel in nostalgia. It’s a trap to think that things were better. Things were shit when you were younger, too. Just, you weren’t hip to it, weren’t jaded to it. So you must become like a child again. Meditate on humor. Look for the absurdity in the face of bleakness.
4. Be open to virtual relationships. Pretend it’s 2005 and you’re making friends around common interests in chatrooms. Friendships by proxy. It feels less than satisfying than IRL, but it’s less commitment. It’s something.
5. Don’t put too much emphasis in the future. Right now is the only time. Fully embrace the ache of the present moment. It’s ok to not know why it is. But to get out you have to be fully, wholelly in it first. Or so I think.
6. Don’t overthink. Sometimes, to fill the glut of hours, you have to hit your brain with waves of books or television or podcasts. I’m a firm believer in moderation and variety, but sometimes you need mind numbing escapism.
7. Deep introspection. Hold your tongue. Stop doing anything, if it can be avoided. Do less physically… go into yourself. Work on the plank in your own eye before you look for sawdust in the eye of others. Do the deep work in the dusty cobwebs of yourself. When will you have a chance to do this again? If you can’t go out you have to travel inward. Perhaps, if all goes well, we will emerge as enlightened beings, accepting the fuckedupedness of our own futility. The colors will be more vivid on the other side. The music will be sweeter.
I read a story by Ursula K. LeGuin last night called “The Diary of the Rose.” It’s a dystopian scenario where political dissenters are subjected to electroshock therapy to erase their brains. It was a strangely comforting book. In this future, liberalism was seen as a thought crime because it wasn’t positive thinking — it was realistic thinking.
It’s true that the more that you accept suffering, the clearer you can see.
That might be a hell of a tradeoff.