When All You Can Do Is Think

In strange times like these, thoughts are what keep us going.

You wake up. You think about the pandemic. You think about how much you could be doing with all this free time. Maybe if you knew when it would end, you could schedule your days better. It feels like you are stuck, days are passing by but they feel like one long day. The news make it seem like it will only get worse and you believe it because you’ve spent your entire adulthood stressing about how bad things are, how bad your government is, how bad the world will be when your younger sibling inherits it. You want to be proven right but you also want to be proven wrong. After all, the cost of you being right is the death of thousands. You don’t know much about the economy but you know it wouldn’t survive either.

You want to be productive. Your whole life is ahead of you but you don’t want to think about it. There’s a quality to the absolute newness of this situation; you can’t put it into words but you can’t look past it and get on with your life. You curse the conditioning that has pushed you to believe that you should derive quantifiable value from your free time. That conditioning used to be one of the voices in your head and you could silence it. But now, as you come closer to living life on your own terms, you feel a sense of inadequacy. You’re scared and you stop resisting so the conditioning becomes the only voice in your head and it tells you to do more, to learn more, to be more. In times of isolation, it only becomes louder.

Also read: My Thoughts in Quarantine – A Poem

You push that aside. You resume thinking about the pandemic. You feel guilty for being so comfortable, for being amidst the people that you so dearly love. You see absolute chaos around you and you want to help but what good is the help if it’s driven by guilt? You don’t want to start thinking about inequality and you realise it’s because it makes you deeply uncomfortable about who you are and why you are who you are. It dawns on you that having an internal debate about inequality is an exercise of privilege.

You want to take a break so you open Instagram. You mindlessly go through stories and you really want to stop but it doesn’t hurt to continue, so you go on. Half the day goes by and you still haven’t done anything. You open a book, read a few pages and think about what you could have been reading instead; if only you had had the foresight to preemptively bulk purchase your favourite writers to keep you company. You’re stuck reading the non-fiction you pretentiously purchased two years ago.

You routinely check to see the number of positive cases of the virus. It doesn’t surprise you anymore but you still announce it at home and it scares your parents.

You think about the life you have to return to after all of this is over. You didn’t particularly like college and sometimes willingly didn’t go. But now, you miss the choice. You notice people are starting to feel nostalgic about normalcy; Instagram accounts are beginning to ask you to send in your favourite memories from the three years you spent in a foreign city. You think about leaving a college and a people that you never identified with.

But you want to say goodbye; how things would look like without a farewell, you wonder. You begin writing, you hope it brings a little clarity. You want to go into tomorrow a little lighter.

Pragati Thapa is a student of commerce and wants to make better choices in the future.

Featured image credit: Moin Bagban/ Unsplash