Checking in and Animal Crossing

My new favorite and necessary pastime.

Hello, Everyone.

It’s been a while. This isn’t a post where I mention I’ve been published again (though I was a week ago) or other such announcements like that.

This post is mostly just to check in and make sure we’re still in this together. COVID-19 is still out there and exploring our earth while the rest of us are indoors trying to adapt and make the best of our new lives. We still don’t know how much longer this will go on for, which makes our lives all the more anxious and uncertain.

For me, I started out feeling very calm, as previously mentioned. I had a sudden burst of energy and was more productive than I’ve been in six months. I was, despite all the financial hardships that were about to hit, flourishing.

But things are different now. I’m facing strong anxiety for the friends who are still working in grocery stores, delivery services, and the like. I am guilty that I am the one who stays safely at home while they are forced to work. I am beginning to feel the burden of being at home 24/7 and am guilty of taking drives to get out for even a little while. My walks around the neighborhood feel different now. They feel desperate, like the sort of futile escapes one might feel in a hamster wheel, though they do it anyway because it contributes to the illusion of a real escape.

And the worst part is that I’m not alone in these feelings. I’ve read so many articles on the traumatic impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on us. Even if we haven’t experienced a lost loved one, we grieve for the lives we could be having now. People may not have been working in danger or stressed from remote work at home. An entire generation may never have their graduation ceremonies. Stores are in constant threat of permanent closures. And it’s only been less than two months.

Our minds are currently in a constant survival mode, our emotions erratic, our bodies exhausted from all the mental work it’s taking just to stay alive. “You’re not alone in how you’re feeling,” is the main takeaway of those articles, but I’m not sure if that’s supposed to make me feel better.

I found reading to be a natural way for me to cope. But it was getting harder and harder to focus because of all my worries. Though I’ve read over 10 books since quarantine started, my mind has begun to wander, and the text on the page is no longer sticking.

Thanks to a friend, I was recently able to download Animal Crossing, which has been a worldwide topic since quarantine began. Just two days into the game, I’ve started to feel a little better. Where the yoga, deep breathing, meditation, and reading failed, the game has managed to slightly lift me out of my constant dread. I can see now why it was the game we all needed. It gave me a life outside this life, a life that is a little more bearable than the one we are living.

There is no solid point to this post, really. This is just my way of checking in and letting you all know I’m still here. I’m probably going to be playing my game for a little while longer today. Maybe I’ll be able to focus on my reading again.

But for now, let’s all try our best to stay safe. Rooting for you all.

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