The theory of gravity, the theory of optics, the invention of calculus. For a year and a half in quarantine during the Black Plague, Sir Issac Newton used his time wisely.
Shakespeare, penned King Lear, Macbeth, and Cleopatra. Check your Facebook feed. People are using this time of self isolation to create wonderful things.
The pressure is on. If you can’t be at work, if you can’t meet with friends, if you can’t ‘go shopping’, then why aren’t you coming up with some unique insight into quantum mechanics? Perhaps if physics isn’t your thing, you’d like to write pandemic poetry or branch out into music and develop the covid chorus.
People have taken to cleaning. If these are our final days do you really want to spend them cleaning?? Or organizing your wardrobe? Or putting that spare room in order? The stories of these activities only increase my own anxiety.
I do have a novel, written a couple of years ago that is partly re-written and edited. Is it the next Great Canadian Novel?? Chances are, no. Could I use this time to make it as good as it can be? Yes. Am I? No. I could clean. As Anne of PEI said (and I paraphrase) “It doesn’t leave much scope for imagination.” Could I work on a bit of art? (I have started painting watercolours). But I don’t.
I’m trying to break the habit of trolling in social media to see if the pandemic is breaking or if we are all facing the end of the world. That leaves me in a peculiar state of lethargy. Sitting here, imagining all the things I could accomplish, yet not motivated to move.
Newton and Shakespeare were geniuses, people. Cut yourself some slack. These are extraordinary times but it doesn’t mean you have to accomplish something phenomenal. If the laundry piles up a bit, if the floor gets a little sticky, if the rug could use a vacuum, don’t worry. It’ll wait for you. If you, too, have the great Canadian novel waiting for an edit. Relax. When the time is right, you’ll get to it. Not everyone is going to come out of the pandemic with works of great creativity. And that’s okay. Stay safe.