So, I’m back to square one after 396 days.
Last year, when I was done with NaPoWriMo, I realized that it was the most consistent with my writing that I had ever been. I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t know how long I could keep up with my streak. But for some reason, I kept going. I kept writing, no matter how out of it I felt sometimes because, on most days, writing is what kept me grounded.
First things first, this year’s NaPoWriMo was especially fun to be a part of because I was doing so with my best friend. We decided to be a part of NaPoWriMo together almost 2 years ago, but we never got around to it back then. So this year, because we have been stuck at home with nothing to do, we decided to write poetry and I am so glad we did because somewhere in our quest for the perfect poetic devices, we didn’t realize how quickly a whole month flew past us. In a lot of ways, poetry did keep us sane amidst these very trying times.
If not for holding on to a sliver of productivity, I don’t know what I would have done to while away my time. And although I have caught up with a fair share of my to-be-read list and engaged myself in some new series and music, it’s not the same as being creative. But I hope everyone reading this understands that there is no pressure on anybody to be productive or learn new things while being stuck at home because we are not on a sabbatical. We are all desperately trying to hold on to some kind of routine right now and it is completely okay if you don’t necessarily feel productive right now. So don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.
In fact, I keep telling myself, ‘Maybe I can take a break once this month is over,’ you know? Just to maintain some sort of uniformity. But frankly, I don’t feel like doing so. Maybe I do take a break in the sense that I don’t really write things that are way too deep or thought-provoking, every once in a while, because we don’t need to be so serious about everything all the time. Where’s the fun in that? What is the point? What are we trying to prove and to whom?
One thing that never fails to baffle me is how we can tell just about everybody to take their own time and do things at their own pace, but when it comes to giving ourselves that privilege, somehow, we are just unable to do so. Maybe it’s because of the competitive streak in all of us. Maybe it’s because we are always trying to be a better version of ourselves. Or maybe, it’s because there are way too many ‘motivating’ captions and forwards on our social media platforms telling us that we’d be getting nowhere if we weren’t hustling.
But guess what? Hustling doesn’t guarantee success. Sure, it’s a part of what makes you successful. But of what use is the kind of success that comes at the cost of your own sanity? Let’s be real here. You can never truly revel in your victory if you’re not sound enough to let yourself live for a little bit. Yes, your hard work is important but it’s not more important that you and it can never be.
And for that reason and that reason alone, I am telling you all to please stop telling everyone you know to ‘try and be productive’ since you’re ‘stuck at home and doing nothing’. It’s not that we don’t recognize our privilege of being locked up at home with high-speed internet, at supplies, a fully functional kitchen, Netflix or whatever. We’re all scared of what is happening in this world right now and we’re trying to keep living normally.
So, no. Forgive me if I don’t feel like being productive right now. Those who are being productive, good for you! Love that for you. But being locked up at home doesn’t mean that people are eventually going to get around to fixing their lives or learning new things. Those of us who can, are just trying to cope. But there are so many others who are stuck at home in less than ideal conditions and things are scary for them because they have nowhere else to turn to.
Sure, our intentions may be good when we try to tell people to indulge in something productive. But it’s not always possible and we absolutely need to wrap our heads around it. It’s a scary world out there and we are living something straight out of a dystopian nightmare. So let’s not force our ‘be productive’ agenda on everybody, okay?
Give it a break. Focus on the more important things right now.
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