Life has become so full of that mundane hum of exhaustion. I don’t even know how to process it and how to explain.
I heard about this idea of “constructive pessimism” today and I don’t know why it struck me. It’s like preparing for the worst but then how necessary is that? Aren’t things already hard enough? Isn’t it that bleak optimism that carries us forward? Or am I just wrong about all of this?
If I go back to exhaustion, even that feels so impractical sometimes. How do you feel exhausted with just being? You wake up exhausted, you go to sleep exhausted. You’re overcome with a weird sense of stress but honestly on most days you feel okay. You tell yourself – “I’m doing so much better than I imagined.” And maybe it helps. But even if it doesn’t, it probably doesn’t matter.
I hold on to every emotion these days for a few seconds before I move on to the next. Sometimes I slow down and focus on breathing in and out because that rhythm of inhaling and exhaling seems more important now than ever.
We’re all confined within these walls that can metaphorically crumble under the weights of our own feelings. But these walls sometimes also act as a protective shell shielding us from the anxiety of what lays outside.
I’ve been trying hard to write about things that are not about the lockdown or the pandemic. But it’s so difficult to separate your ideas and sentiments from your present reality. So in the present, I wake up every morning, make coffee, find a spot on the dining table or on the couch and start working. I take breaks to do the dishes or to cook something. Sometimes I take tiny breaks to make a word in the online Scrabble game I play with friends. At other times, I close my eyes for five minutes and realise it’s not helping the way it should.
It’s weird because I still wait for late evenings or for the night when I can retreat to my room and just be. I write more now and most of it maybe doesn’t even make sense. But that’s okay. I read more. I listen to a lot of music. I try to find comfort where I can because isn’t that better than staring at the inexplicable bareness of life? Isn’t that better than thinking about the end to it all, an end that may really be so far ahead that we might change before things change. And again, maybe that’s okay.
A friend and I talked about “acceptance” today. So many of us struggle with that. It’s tough to accept life for what it is. We all want to have some degree of control. When this control drifts away from us, we feel so anxious. Someone told me about six years ago that I needed to work on that part of me, that I needed to accept and I needed to be okay with things, things that were probably out of my control.
I’ve become much wiser now than I was six years ago. I’ve become more accepting. I’ve learned to sit with my feelings and sometimes just let them exist. No control, no fear, no resistance.
And that’s what I’m doing today and on most days. Maybe I’ll work with my own blend of some constructive pessimism and some of that much needed optimism. We’ll get through this. We don’t have a choice.