It is a bit embarrassing that a few entries ago, I mentioned wanting to write every day. I failed that, obviously, but again nobody should care, least of all me. This is the kind of fake-goals that we set to make ourselves feel good.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown (it is a lockdown practically, despite the mouthful terminology used by the government), I came up with a list of personal goals: to finish a book every X days, to finish Y online courses, to complete Z number of projects. I was ambitious and wanted the lockdown to be productive.
But if there is anything that this global pandemic taught us, it’s this: your goals don’t matter much. By all means, set goals to force yourself out of the bed at 6.30am and to actually do something useful throughout the day. But at the end of the day, the amount of work that actually gets done matters very little. So why not do things that you enjoy, at a rate which is enjoyable to you, not to keep score.
In the grand scheme of things, more powerful forces are at work making the world go round. You can plan this and that and do a lot of busywork, yet if everything is at a standstill, nothing can move forward that much. Imagine putting a fish in a closed fishtank, and throwing the tank into the ocean. You are now that fish.
I’ve heard some businesspeople complaining that they completed a major project, but the counterparty (normally the government) is not operating as usual and comes up with plenty of bullshit excuses like we can only accept the delivery of the project in a face-to-face meeting, we cannot get the approval by this and that officer since they are working from home, we cannot deploy the system remotely, Zoom is insecure, and so on. So the entrepreneurs can’t get paid. So much for planning and executing.
I feel guilty sometimes for enjoying this MCO “vacation” because I am having a great time, yet many people are in fear of losing their livelihood, and for some, the ability to provide basic necessities to their families. I sympathize with those who suffer, I really do. I help where I can.
But let me just say that this lockdown (or Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan) period has been pleasant for me.
I am a natural introvert so there’s not much difference between my life before and during MCO. Playtime with my boy toddler, reading a good book with a hot mug of Darjeeling tea on the side, simple lunch and dinner every day, are all I need to have a good time. Yes, I am that boring.
I do watch Netflix every now and then (every Tuesday I restlessly wait for the newest episode of Better Call Saul to be available) but digital content is not necessary for contentment at home. Screen time is a distraction if not done for work or some useful ends. Going online does not equal entertainment; there are other ways to amuse yourself other than grinning all day at a piece of metal covered in a plastic case, while it basks your face in blue lights.
If I let myself be bombarded and awed by every shiny new viral meme funneh fake news social media online-phenom, I am no better than a snotty teenager (with all due respect to teenagers). Adults should learn how to sit tight and do nothing. And that’s how I’ve spent my days at home: a lot of contemplation, reading, thinking, writing, daydreaming and doing nothing.
What a good life, indeed.
Shout out to our great heroes: the medical frontliners, the police and armed services, and the people along the supply chain who ensure that the basic needs of people (food, telco, water, power, cash & medicine) are met.