It’s a whacky-strange epoch – for marshaling our lives and priorities and for reordering our mind-set.
It should be so easy at this time of year, of life, of pandemic – turn off all news, turn off indicators of anything. Opting out, stopping, avoiding, and retreating is easy enough to do. 1960s counter-culture redux: turn on, tune in, drop out.
I considered stopping this column.
I entertained stopping a lot of things.
As I wrote recently, I turned everything off for absolute quiet – flipped all breakers off. The immediate absence of electrical hum was profound. Noiselessness gave my ears hypnotic respite – disconnected from electricity, internet, and airwaves – albeit only for a few minutes, but that serenity tranquilized me. Ears emptied; I could hear my heart beat.
A taste of rarity, the purity of nothing – cost, not a dime, paid handsomely, I loved it.
Then, flipping back, not intricate. Computers re-booted, wifi modem, and cable service took 10 minutes to recycle. Only then could I turn on a TV. That was such a minor inconvenience, stove and microwave clocks to re-set, but everything else returned to normal. I think I’ll try that again one day soon.
It’s a FOMO (fear of missing out), don’t miss anything world, but we’re bombarded; a word and image blizzard: some partial truths, the rest, just too much noise.
Re-start isn’t the same as starting over, but in a year when stop, start, begin again, shutdown, and lockdown reshaped so much of our experience, it is hard to know what to stop, what to start, what to give up on, and what to hold out hope for in our temperament-twists.