Pandemic Reflections 18 Months In

I had the thought this morning that, if the pandemic got bad again and I was forced to work from home continuously or was partially furloughed again (with a corresponding return to actually life-sustaining unemployment benefits in the US), I am now in a position to really take advantage of the opportunity it would present. Which is a weird thought to have, given how royally fucked up my life has been as a result of the pandemic and the fact that I had similar thoughts during the initial furlough and work-from-home period.

At the start of the pandemic, when we all began working from home and I knew I was going to be only working fifty percent of my usual schedule, I said it was going to be either the best or the worst thing that had ever happened to me. As things played out, I can say that it was closer to the worst than the best, but it wasn’t fully one or the other. As is so often the case, the truth lay somewhere in between the two. If I’d had that time and that financial support without the added stress of a bad roommate situation, social isolation, and the DEADLY PLAGUE, I probably would have thrived. I’d have gotten a lot of writing done, created a bunch of stuff, and maybe even gotten in shape or something. Who knows.

What made me pause and take note of this thought, though, was the realization that I’ve normalized this kind of life. Of not seeing friends often, of limiting my trips to the store, of not going out to eat at restaurants, at staying physically distant from everyone for safety reasons, and so on. Which isn’t to say that I’ve entirely adapted. My stress levels are still constantly high and I’m still working on simply surviving most of the time (it doesn’t help that the stress has probably been a contributing factor in the arrival of several relatively mild but still irksome medical issues).

No, I definitely haven’t adapt to this and I really hope I don’t because this is unsustainable. But I have adjusted. My expectations, plans, and mental processes are very different now than they were eighteen months ago. My view of the world is different. The way I think about my future and make decisions in regards to future events is different. Not hugely so, but enough that I notice it when it comes up.

It still pains me to imagine the details of my life without the pandemic, but it’s tempting because it’s difficult to imagine any kind of actual future right now. Not because I don’t think I’ll have one or anything like that, but because so much changed so quickly and so much is still in flux that I just don’t know what to expect. My powers of anticipation and prediction have been utterly flumoxed. I can no longer logic my way through situations because the world has abandoned logic. Which is a bit melodramatic, but life sure feels like this most of the time.

It’s a lot easier to say that society has abandoned logic than that society has been warped by decades of anti-education and anti-science indoctrination by a conservative ideology intent only on worsening class divides so that the select few can continue to accumulate power and wealth at the expense of not just the people in the world but the entire world itself. The only thing restricting that to the world and not the universe is the current impracticality of space mining and they’re working on that problem already, so it’s only a matter of time.

All of which is not just a mouthful, but a depressing mouthful that tastes like sadness and rage. These words do not have an enjoyable mouthfeel. Their brainfeel is even worse, though, so I try to avoid thinking about it too much when it’s all I can do to keep myself (mostly) healthy. Which is why I’m going to stop here, drink some water, touch some grass, and then start my 5th play-through of Breath of the Wild. This time, I’m gonna find EVERY Korok.

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