going to eleven | toddregoulinsky.com

Well, this will make an interesting group psychological case study some day.

I’ve had this thought from time to time over the last nine months whenever normal bumps up against necessity. Like remote learning. Something that used to be extraordinarily rare become commonplace overnight. Not just in one country or a specific region – it was everywhere. Or digital commuting – a thing that most companies said was impossible became possible when the need arose.

The big one will be how we as human beings reacted to this COVID year – as a species in general and as a country more specifically.

It made me think about an article on needing to find something to worry about (which I’m going to credit Austin Kleon for pointing out even though I can’t remember now). It’s a strange notion on the surface, but starts becoming more familiar the further you read. We, as a planet, have had something happen to us that is traumatic. Now what?

Take doomscrolling as a handy example. Why are so many people out there looking for bad news? Why are people searching for something to worry about?

Speaking only for myself, I think it can be because there’s comfort in being at the extreme – as bad as it can get because then we know for certain it can’t get any worse. I’ve spent plenty of time with the needle of my stress gauge buried at ten and heading towards eleven. And this was before COVID. Once I managed to get away from that extreme, I started noticing the ups and downs of everyday life… and I wasn’t too keen on it. I was used to the numbness of eleven.

All right smarty pants… so what’s the solution?

Ah, this one is easy. … I have no idea. Sorry, no readymade answers here or self-help tips, or powders to dissolve in your water that will magically straighten out your digestive track, prolong your life, cure your acne, and give you a six-figure income. Honestly, even if I did have the answer, I’m not sure that many people would listen to it. Part of the gigantic case study we’re all a part of at the moment (whether we like it or not) is how a huge swath of the population who has never had a major trauma deals with having a major trauma. All at the same time. With no real guidance.

So, I’ll just share what I’m trying to do on my own personal Quarantine Island. I’m trying to survive and stay sane and have grace for myself and the people in my family. That’s it. I’d share methods or strategies, but it seems like any that I’ve come up with have worked right until they don’t work anymore without any good reason for it.

Creativity and a sense of humor are about as close to advice as I’ll get. Learn to think on your feet (or sitting on your couch) and have a laugh – at the things around you and yourself as well. And, as I try to remember, the second one is actually more important than the first.