So a month ago I showed up here after being radio silent for more than a year with every intention of getting back into the writing/connecting groove because I miss being part of some kind of community that exists outside the confines of my head/house/client work. And I was so, so happy to hear back from familiar faces and to realize that life as it was before the world imploded is still there and connection is there for all of us if we seek it out. And then I proceeded to not write anything else. Such is life during COVID, I guess.
You’d think that after blogging for more than a decade on a pretty regular basis it would be easy to get back into the habit. Weirdly–or maybe it’s not weird?–it’s been hard getting back to a place where I can just blithely read something, have an idea and just spit it out in a form that feels relatively coherent. I don’t know if it’s more about the fact that I just got out of practice putting myself out there and now feel self-conscious, or if it’s less about that and more about being so isolated working for/by myself that my social skills have just atrophied…because they definitely have. Apparently I’m not alone in this–COVID is making everyone more socially awkward. And also loneliness impacts cognitive functioning. Great.
I will say that COVID has been weirdly good in terms of learning random new things, as I guess happens when you have essentially endless time to doomscroll and click every link. Which has then led me to start obsessively bookmarking a billion things. It’s like the more isolated/socially cut off I’ve grown, three years into working remotely and for/by myself, the more hours per day I spend consuming, taking in without anyone to discuss stuff with or time/motivation to write about anything, which led to feeling like I’ve used up all my memory and need a second brain to process it all. Which is apparently a thing, which makes me feel immeasurably less weird for feeling this way and for having amassed an ever-expanding digital garden (also a thing!) cataloging the never-ending stream of ideas I manage to come across and hoover up all day, every day.
All this to say that these COVID feels I’m apparently not alone in feeling? Turns out they’re not so weird after all and even have a name: Acedia. Our “surge capacity” is depleted, turning us all into, essentially, unwitting monks. Go figure. Ah, the things you can learn when you have unlimited time to click every link on the internet. Important things like science…of haircolor–yet another of my COVID obsessions.
So if you need your hair color fixed, an explanation of pretty much anything or binge-worthy TV ideas, I got you. I’ll probably just be super awkward trying to talk to you like I still have social skills.
“Acedia & me” by Kathleen Norris for a writer’s examination of her journey before COVID was even a shard in anyone’s eye