One of the things I like best about myself is that I am generally pretty good about getting back on the proverbial horse. Like anyone, I get derailed and sidetracked or otherwise pushed off of whatever I’m trying to do, but I will almost always pick myself up and try again. Current band falls apart? I’ll be sad for awhile, then eventually start stalking the craigslist music postings. Break the daily language practice? I’ll ignore the phone reminders for a few weeks, and then start doing the exercises while I’m waiting for the kettle to boil. Break my nose playing softball? I’ll be back out on the field as soon as my stitches are removed.
Our present dystopia is determined to test this.
California is currently not only living through plague, but also through wildfires, which mean that a large number of things I used to do are just not at all on the table right now, and there is basically nothing I can do to change that. My weekly language study sessions I’d been doing for over a decade? Can’t go to them. My preferred forms of exercise? Nope, those are group settings. Playing music with friends? That’s a big ol’ no, especially the singing part. Okay, fine, but can I at least go for a daily walk? *California laughs in Hazardous Air Quality.*
I’m not saying all this to whine (believe me, I have done that part already), but rather just as a observation. It’s interesting, in an abstract way, to see where I’m able to fill those gaps (playing music on my own – not as fun, but still better than nothing; zoom Pilates sessions with a dear friend – weird to do in my house, but lovely to see her) and where those new gaps just…have to remain.
Humans are deeply, profoundly adaptable – we see this every day, and it’s the fundamental reason our species has survived and evolved the way we have in the first place. But what does it mean for us as individuals to adapt so easily to things that are objectively awful? When (if) things go back to what we think of as “normal”, how will we unpack all of these adaptations we have made?