It's okay to take a break even though the world is falling apart
Let go of the guilt—if there's something that brings you a bit of joy right now, do it.
I’ve been having trouble formulating the topic for this post, which is why I’m quite delayed in sending it out. It’s not for a lack of ideas or thoughts. If anything, I have too many thoughts. My roadblock has been that writing about seemingly inconsequential things feels trivial when there are so many awful things taking place right now.
Books are being banned, our country’s capital is in crisis, and the pandemic is still a pandemic. People everywhere are fighting, picking sides, arguing, and hurting. The world feels a bit sad right now. It’s hard to come out from under the heaviness of it all and find the drive for completing non-essential tasks.
I felt this same sense of inertia when the pandemic first began (remember when we used to call it “coronavirus”? Feels like a lifetime ago.) Everything suddenly seemed so overwhelmingly terrible and I found myself pushing writing/any form of self-expression or self-care aside. There were more important things to do, like spend hours learning the basics of epidemiology and wondering if I should have taken more science classes in high school. The focus was on day-to-day survival—anything else felt frivolous.
With all of the recent and current events taking place, it again feels hard to talk about anything that isn’t the Big Stuff. I feel pressure to say something meaningful and contribute to the important conversations taking place.
But I’ve started to reframe that thought and consider the flip-side—that perhaps there’s something to be said for stepping away from it all.
There is value in taking a break from the discourse, from the intensity, from the madness. In fact, I think it’s necessary. It’s the reason everyone has become obsessed with Wordle (although I’ve yet to partake in that particular phenomenon). It’s why we watch trashy reality television, or silly memes on TikTok. We need to escape. We need to survive the times we’re living in. It’s self-preservation.
And so, I keep writing, through these weird, dark times—even if I have nothing particularly profound to say about any of it. Because I need to. Because it gives me something that distracts me from all the other things. Because it gives me a spark of light when it feels like the world is burning all around me.
It’s important to care about all the pain and suffering and unrest that surrounds us. But it’s also important to release yourself of the burden of caring all the time.
Find your moment of joy, your distraction, your relief—and take it. Turn off the news, turn down the noise, and look away. Let go of the guilt.
You can go back to fighting the good fight tomorrow.
Stray thoughts 💭
Speaking of taking a break and finding some joy, how great was this story?
For fellow writers, if you need a bit of inspiration, this was a goody.
I love this perspective: “I have seen the limits of the grind. I want my child to learn how to be lazy.”
It’s been a very long week and a very long January. Sending strength to all to keep going.
I've barely ever engaged, but engagement for me stopped when #45 was nominated by his party to be the next President. Certainly, following any material news story now is an exercise in self harm. Laying low is best.
Also, I wonder: this would seem to have been a lesson learned back in the day when you were going through treatment -- what's different now?
Absolutely feeling the same. I’ve stopped reading the news, yet still hear about it. But the noise is muffled now, which helps me hear the things that feel better.