I have my eyes set on the horizon at this point. Living in the moment is good in normal times but the when the moment sucks and is on a vaguely downward trajectory, I have no desire to set up camp there. I want a holiday away from the moment. Ideally, I want to move to a different borough from the moment entirely.
It's the first day of Lockdown 2.0 in the UK, the second day of election chaos in the USA, and I'm desperately attempting to exchange on a house at the same time. So naturally I'm focusing my entire attention on the fact that my PlayStation 5 will be arriving in two weeks today.
I think, if I'm honest with myself, it's consumerism of the worst order. I'm not a big AAA gamer (I'm currently spending most of my time ploughing through Hades on the Switch, which is a hard contender for game of the year), and, at least until Cyberpunk 2077 comes out, I think the PlayStation might be a very expensive machine for playing the occasional bout of Apex Legends with a slightly higher frame rate and resolution. (I'm hoping its enormous size means it might also be quieter in use but that remains to be seen. It will, at least, be less dusty.)
But if it feels nice to have new things, it almost feels nicer to anticipate them. And things to anticipate are painfully thin on the ground right now. I've written before here about the stress induced by suddenly losing the ability to go on holiday. It turns out that knowing I would be somewhere else – whether that's Japan, or Scotland, or just my Mum's house – in three months made a lot of the intervening months much easier to handle.
In the UK, our lockdown lifted almost completely over the summer. It's a decision that is… fairly clearly a fuckup in hindsight, but it did allow many people that joy of anticipation. Me and my partner never quite felt like the risk was low enough for us to be comfortable hopping on the tube for leisure, let alone a plane or long distance train. And then, before we knew it, the risk was rising again, and now, well, here we are.
This second lockdown is going to be hard, I think. The novelty of the first wasn't exactly galvanising – it was a scary time for us all – but the harried, stressed attempts to make something of the fear were genuine. I started running; I baked croissants; I went berry picking and made jam. This time round, I'm exercising less, my croissants are coming from pre-mix dough, and, well, I did just make some apple butter but that was only because we had 2kg of cooking apples and I didn't really want another apple crumble.
So, more than normal, I think it's important to set your eyes on the horizon. Find some things a couple of weeks away, a month away, maybe more, and just let yourself get excited about them. Maybe try and book some time off work in the middle of the week to do something you wouldn't normally devote a day to. Upgrade your TV dinners to film nights with popcorn, and rent a movie you actually want to see rather than just picking whatever's included with your Netflix subscription.
We'll get through this.
Alex, I really like your point about the importance of 'setting your eyes on the horizon'. However my lesson is that you also need to maintain connections with the world during lockdown too https://collect.readwriterespond.com/space-does-not-stand-still/