Day 71

This pandemic has spared me so far and all I do is complain and worry about it. Weirdly, I’m not thinking much about the thousands and thousands suffering and dead. My worries are all about the systems of our global society and what may happen in the future. To me.

Now I may not have my priorities straight here, but let’s talk a bit about those worries. They don’t make sense—the world has always been a dangerous place. Going by the statistics, dying of covid is only a bit more likely than all of the other things I could die of at my age. Even if I were a pretty successful politician, there’d be little I could do about how global society works. And I’m not a politician at all, so that should not be something to worry about.

That’s the stoic way of looking at things. Can’t change it? Don’t worry about it. Can change it? Change it, don’t worry about it. I thought I internalised that. And I do know it, but it really doesn’t change how I feel. And stoicism is just one of the things I learned to control my emotions. There are breathing exercises, meditation, workouts, eating healthy and monitoring sleep, to name a few. And nothing seemed to have done much about my mood—until my circumstances improved.

That lack of control was yet another source of negative thoughts. Why, I asked myself, with all that knowledge, am I still so freaked out, while everything in my household is fine?! Is all that knowledge useless, once I’m not feeling happy? Then is the correlation between happiness and all the other things maybe reversed?

Paul Kaye as Matt's (Tom Basden) pyschiatrist in After Life
“Just don’t worry about it, mate.”

Just don’t worry about it—it’s a beautiful day and the children are happy and it doesn’t matter that the house is a mess, so enjoy the moment. It’s so much easier said than done. And I’m still hesitant to write about this, because I still actually think I’m a total wussy for not being able to handle myself better.

I mean, this is just a minor crisis compared to what famine and war could bring and—as frequently mentioned here—I’m aware of the vast majority of people being worse off than me. I guess despite knowing better, emotionally I thought dealing with crises would be about being brave, resourceful and heroic. Turns out it’s about dealing with yourself, stress and monotony. I gotta learn that stuff better, because I think it’s very likely that the pandemic is just a little taste of what’s to come with climate change in the next few decades.

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