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  • Writer's pictureDana Webster

It's The Little Things

I am such a huge fan of dystopian fiction. Stuff like Nineteen Eighty-Four (George Orwell), Fahrenheit 451 (Ray Bradbury), Brave New World (Aldous Huxley), anything by John Wyndham, A Handmaid's Tale (Margaret Atwood), The Stand (Stephen King). And so on ...**

Most of these books were assigned reading in high school which I think is significant. Teenagers are such keen observers of the human condition plus their level of natural empathy is off the charts. They straddle the two worlds of

1. reality or that which is and,

2. fantasy or that which is possible

Because of this they are perfectly positioned to see the feculence in the world for what it is AND carry enough hope and motivation to make it better. God bless teenagers, honestly.

So, we are living in dystopian times. I think that's obvious. When what we know to be true and real gets turned on its head so that we no longer recognize the world around us, this is the unsettling in-between time where we just have to hang on and ride it out. It can leave us feeling vulnerable and fearful which often manifests as aggression, anger and isolationism.

Do you know about the boiling frog theory? It's kind of a gruesome visual but an apt metaphor for our times.

"The boiling frog is a fable describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of sinister threats that arise gradually rather than suddenly." ~ Wikipedia.

That pot has been on a low boil for quite awhile now, years. Just simmering away.

But enough of bleak. I don't have any answers for this. I do know that while many of us are socially isolating and growing more anxious by the day, I also have friends who refused to lose their March Break family holiday and are dog-sledding in Quebec as we speak. Bravo!

Sometimes, it is the little things that bring us meaning and hope. In times of chaos, we need grounding touchstones like routine, coffee, jigsaw puzzles and Netflix. A lot you are home with your children in forced togetherness with no promise of an end in sight. Once the shock of that wears off, throw out the rule book.

When Meacham and Pilar were young, I severely limited their screen time as a general rule. However, on really crappy weather days, when going outside was prohibitive, I would declare it "Junk food and video day." We'd stock up on chips and chocolate, and throw on some DVDs. Because it was out of the norm for us to do this, it made it special.

Right now, we are being asked to accept a new normal even though we cannot see what that yet is. This will end. Life will continue, perhaps not quite as before. In the mean time, make the most of it. It is so rare for us to take a pause. The silver lining is just that - time to stop, time to breathe, time to contemplate.

Here's what's keeping me sane:

  • knowing my children are safe and healthy

  • knowing my elderly mom is being well looked after even though visiting her "cruise ship on land" is currently prohibited

  • knowing that I can spend time with Mother Nature any time I want

  • having shelves full of books yet to be read

  • Netflix

  • coffee in the morning

  • whiskey in the evening

Like I said, it's the little things.

**If you're interested in dystopian literature, check out this list I found.

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