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[Dear Madison] Am I Being a Lazy Piece of Sh*t?

Dear Madison,

This extended period at home has been affecting me in a way I hadn't quite expected it to. I miss my friends, for sure, but it's not unbearable as we've still been talking often.

Instead, I've been putting myself under a lot of pressure recently – especially after exams have ended - to do something productive with my free time. I see people everywhere doing exemplary things, learning new skills, working on their crafts, or just doing good for the community in these tough times. I look at them with admiring, almost envious eyes.

Above all, I'm beginning to feel like if I don't come out of this circuit breaker evolved/improved in some sense, these two months at home would be wasted. Do you think that this is an unhealthy mindset cultivated by our productivity-obsessed society – considering the pandemical nature of things around the world right now?

Or am I just being a lazy piece of shit? What do you think?

Thanks Madison.




Dear Unsure,

I feel you. These truly have been strange times – not to mention, gravely worrying and depressing times as well, but I guess that's beside the point... or is it?

Like you said, it does seem as though some of us, who are fortunate enough to only need to stay home now, have turned what in reality is a pandemic induced quarantine and circuit breaker into a Self-Improvement Retreat, Destination: Home. Peering through the windows provided by social media, we catch glimpses of their lives (or projections of them, at least): The dalgona coffee on the table, banana bread in the oven, yoga mat on the floor and, occasionally, if we squint hard enough, the direness of the situation swept under the carpet.

And we compare. Should I be learning to bake too? Should I have started those 30 day fitness challenges too? Should I be less worried about the Covid-19 situation than I am?

I think we tend to forget that what we see on social media is only a portion or a version of what is actually going on with people. A friend of mine whose IG story is precisely what I described above, dalgona coffee and all, is constantly worrying about the pandemic. Her parents work in essential services, and filling her days with activities and routine helps keep her stable, better able to cope with this difficult situation, and strong for her family and friends to turn to for support – like I did, and like you can consider.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to be there for one another, to avoid spiralling into self-doubt and depression, and to find a new “normal” in such an unprecedented time.

We shouldn’t ignore that the reason why we’re stuck at home is the worsening situation of Covid-19, neither should we let our fears of it derail our lives and preclude our time at home of any sort of self-improvement and productivity. I don’t know if you’re a lazy piece of shit, but it’s nice to hear you questioning it.

Personally, I believe that in such uncertain and unfamiliar waters, we need to re-find what our “normal” is in relation to this circuit breaker, ourselves, and the people we compare ourselves with - what are our goals and thus, what is productivity now? You mentioned that you feel like if you don’t come out of this circuit breaker changed in some way, then all this time would have been wasted. I wonder: Had it been a pandemic-free summer, would you instead have not felt this way? In other words, why is it the pandemic that’s making you question whether you’re wasting your time? Wouldn’t it be equally, if not, more of a concern that your time would be wasted had you not improved during a pandemic-free summer?

You’re right, the pandemic is bringing to light certain societal problems and challenges like our obsession with productivity, maintaining a healthy relationship with social media, and even our compassion (or lack thereof) for one another. Perhaps, as we stay home during this period, we can take some time to sit with our thoughts and feelings, and not only figure out our “normal” for these difficult times, but our “normal” moving forward.

I know things aren’t easy now, and they may even get worse, but one day we’ll look back on this and see that we’ve made it! Hold in there, take care of those around you, and take care of yourself.

Thanks for sharing with me; You’ve really made me think. I hope I’ve helped you think through this too.




Dear Madison is for general informational and entertainment purposes only, and does not constitute or substitute medical, legal or professional advice. Always seek the advice of a professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or any situation that would so require such advice.

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