I'm only twenty-five and not overly comfortable with describing myself as an adult, but I definitely don't recall ever living through something of this magnitude. I vaguely remember other viruses, mostly through memes. Swine flu and SARS are the ones I have the best memory of, and even then, none of them well enough that I recall how deadly they were. COVID-19 really is its own beast, and the way its changed how we live, both during and probably after- and if you're struggling right now, I promise there will be an after- is something we'll be talking about long after it's done. We'll be talking about what we ate and how we kept in touch and, most importantly, what we did to pass the time. For me, that has been video games, especially for the purposes of this blog.
There's been a lot of talk about productivity lately. The 'never stop working' crowd have been championing COVID-19 as a time to push your creative and mental skills to the max. You've absolutely seen memes like this floating around:
|I will never link to iFunny ever again, promise.|
This meme is not only wrong(Because seriously, how stupid of me to put my mental being over hard work), but it's also dangerous. Everyone is living through a major world event that we've never even considered having to prepare for, and not like this. To try to force creativity on top of whatever mental stresses you have right now is extremely hazardous to your mental health. I'm telling you this from experience.
I've been...stressed as I try to push my writing further. I have a dozen drafts right now that feel like absolute bangers, and if I just get them all written and and edited perfectly, and make sure to play more games people care about and maybe then-
And on and on on.
I've been getting better about it, thankfully. A big part of that wellness has come from my Xbox One I purchased recently('You should have waited' is what you're saying to a question I don't remember asking). The interface is a little awkward compared to what I'm used to with my PS4, but any faults are forgiven as soon as I found out what games were playable with backwards compatibly.
I haven't played an Xbox 360 game in...four years, I think? But I've been having fun with some games I haven't played since I was in high school. Fable II, Final Fantasy XIII and Perfect Dark's XBLA remaster were some of my favorite games growing up. They've helped greatly when it comes to distracting myself from the issues plaguing the world right now, and that happiness means a lot.
No, I've not been productive. Hell, I'm not even sure if I've been well, but I'm doing better than I would have been if I hadn't taken this time for what makes me happy. Content has slowed since the social distancing started, and I'll own that, but I'm not going to feel bad for it. If I listened to that fucking meme up there- pushed aside everything that bothers me about this situation for the purposes of content- I can't imagine where I would be right now.
You can do a lot with the inexplicable amount of free time we have right now. Play some games, read a book or two, anything that keeps you sane in this stressful period. You could also be over-productive and drown yourself in content creation. Whatever you do, be mindful of yourself and your needs as you go. What matters right now, more than anything, is that you stay well and do your part to keep everyone in your community safe. For me, that means playing video games and then writing about them on the internet. Quarantine or not, this is still what I love most.
When not writing about writing(whoaaaaaa), Natalie 'Lyneriaa' Raine can be found championing her nostalgia on twitter @Lyneriaa.
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