For several days now I’ve been fighting a pervasive feeling of pointlessness. Every activity I do requires an act of willpower to get over the “why bother” roadblock. This morning as I contemplated going out for the week’s groceries, I found myself dreading the trip. In the past weeks getting groceries was an interesting challenge in resource acquisition, yet today I did not want to go. I went, of course, because we need food options for the next week. While I was out, a realization shook loose. The portion of my brain which likes to organize, predict, and plan has been functioning on overdrive. This is why grocery shopping has been so interesting to me for the past weeks. Sometime in the past week it became apparent to my subconscious that all my planning, organizing, bread making, and preparations have completely failed to conquer the pandemic. I don’t get to have a Mission Accomplished moment where all my preparations saved us all. Without that emotional reward for completion, a part of my mind did the equivalent of flouncing to her room to sulk. If I don’t get to triumph over pandemic, then why try at all?
Dragged out into the light, this particular brain loop is obviously ridiculous. Many emotional tangles are. Seeing it clearly has already helped make it begin to dissipate. I’m feeling better after having returned to my house. A phone call with a business partner about a potential project also helps. I am reminded that even while physically isolating, I should be expending effort in emotional connection. Collaborative projects help others as much as they help me. The answer to “why bother” is the same as it always has been. People and creations can exist for their own sake even if they never become triumphs. Even if they’re never “completed.” Even if they are clumsy at what they’re trying to accomplish. Things don’t have to have a point to be worthwhile.