The world is not ending.
It sort of feels like it is, but hopefully COVID-19 will be more like a massive inconvenience than an apocalyptic plague. That’s only going to happen if we take it seriously.
We’re going to have to use social distancing to keep the coronavirus from spreading. We owe that to each other.
That also means we’re going to have to spend a lot of time inside over the next few weeks and we won’t have things like sports and movie premieres to keep us entertained. This could be a sad, lonely time, and we’ll have to fight for our own happiness through proactivity.
I’m approaching this break as a chance to work on myself, to explore why I love the things I love because the absence will probably make my heart grow fonder. We rarely get chances to really slow down and check in with ourselves like this. Don’t let it go to waste.
Here are five suggestions worth considering as you contemplate your future on the inside.
Oftentimes humanity’s greatest art is born during times of greatest disruption. Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso and Virginia Woolf rose from the ashes of World War I to revolutionize art in the 1920s.
The coronavirus is the greatest disruption the country has experienced in a long time. Perhaps the best way of working through the disruption is by tapping into the more creative side of life.
We all have projects that we’ve dreamed of but had to set aside due to lack of time or energy. Think about those YouTube videos you’ve wanted to make or whatever hobby you have that you’ve always wanted to try your hand at. Now is the perfect time to more fully explore that avenue.
The internet will be even more lively over the next few weeks, and people will be happy to see any projects you might be working on. If you’ve ever wanted to write a book, learn to crochet or try your hand at competitive cup stacking, then now is your time to give it a try.
2. Build Out Your Online Presence
“Building a personal brand” feels at least a little cliche at this point, but you’re going to have plenty of time to start your own website, update your Linkedin page and explore some new social media sites during the next few weeks.
We are more connected than ever, but it can be easy to lock yourself out of online networking by not putting in the initial legwork. Can you imagine missing out on an ideal internship or employment opportunity just because you weren’t keeping an eye on your Linkedin page?
Building a personal website will be a high priority for me during the break and mini-quarantine. If you’re doing cool things, in any field, you need to document them. You need to be able to boast about them. Your website can act as a hub where you archive all of the resume-building stuff you do.
WordPress, Squarespace and Wix offer simple, effective templates for those that are looking to create simple sites. It could be the difference between landing an interview and not.
3. Take a Deep Dive into Your Favorite Album
I feel like albums are dying in the world of Spotify playlists, but there are still some masterful collections being produced nowadays.
There’s something about the album that works for me. Artists can teach listeners deep, universal messages in the structure of an album because they have the space needed to present and explain those complex ideas.
Sometimes those ideas can’t be fully understood if the listener doesn’t slow down, pull up the lyrics and try and understand what the artist is really trying to convey. Music is art. It’s about showing something true and unspoken about life, and taking a closer look at music you love can be enlightening.
This idea was introduced to me from Spotify’s Dissect podcast, a show where host Cole Cuchna examines the work of Kendrick Lamar and Tyler the Creator in long form episodes. Let’s just say Cuchna’s exploration of 2017’s Damn. by Kendrick Lamar changed the way I look at music.
Pick a band you’ve always loved and try and dig more deeply into one of their albums. See if there’s anything worth discovering. Maybe you’ll learn some lessons to carry with you after this great disturbance fizzles out, if it ever does.
4. Read. Read a lot.
Books are for giant nerds, but it might not be so bad to be a giant nerd afterall. There’s something about reading that keeps the brain active and progressing. Words on a page tend to stick with you more than what you hear on the radio or in a video. Now is a good time to look for things that will make a lasting impact on you.
I think people don’t realize how diverse the world of literature is. There’s books about everything. Sports? You betcha. History you’ve never heard of before? Sure thing. There’s books about cooking, self-help, video games, art, memes and anything else you can think of. The issue is finding one that interests you.
If you don’t consider yourself a reader, I’d invite you to check out NPR’s Book Concierge. It breaks down last few years’ releases by genre, length, intended audience etc. There’s a section for books about sex, books about science, graphic novels and a whole lot more.
I just finished There, There by Tommy Orange. It’s a fascinating exploration of the lives of Native Americans living in big cities like Oakland. There’s a ton of great social commentary in there, but it’s also a fascinating read. Check it out, or find something more your vibe. Either way, read.
5. It’s Okay to be a Gamer
This is probably the most obvious recommendation, but there will plenty of time for video games over the next few weeks. If you are staying in Cedar City, there’s a good chance the internet speeds won’t be good enough for a lot of online play, so you might want to consider some single player experiences.
If you’re not into video games, now would be a good time to try. You can play mindless mobile games or grab a simple Gameboy emulator on your phone, fire up your console or take a trip down memory lane and hit up coolmathgames.com.
Now is a time where escapism will be essential. You can’t stay socially-conscious and try to help fix things 24 hours a day. You’re going to have a lot of quiet moments over the next few weeks. A lot of people are going to get sick. A few hours in the Mushroom Kingdom might help fight those blues.
No matter what you do with your time inside, allow yourself to feel inspired. The coronavirus has barreled through our lives, and I’m looking forward to the beautiful creations that will be born from it. The 2020s could be a time of artistic revival and social progression like the 1920s were but we’ll have to carry that banner forward.
It’s going to be a rough few weeks. Stay proactive. Wash your hands. Get ready for the day as if you were going out, even if you’re only going to stay in. Do not wallow in the inconvenience of it all.
Story and photo by: Connor Sanders