Writing in the times where anything that is written is rather short-lived might sound like a questionable initiative. This is true for those of us living in the age of twitter where it is incredibly easy to say anything quick, express your anger or happiness, or opinion without necessary justification just because there is ‘not enough space’. What maybe we need right now is not an opinion, idea, explanation of how to understand this all better but perhaps, an ability to share and hear other people stories, honest and long insights on how we are, if we are those who choose to share it with the world via means of internet.
In the world we live just right now, we need more than a few words. We need reflections and thoughts as none of us can relate to tiny tweets with our full self. Yes, we can relate to something workwise, our adaptation to the daily routine, sharing of a general laugh of how cynical all of these might be but we are also at risk of being doomed when we see how well others cope, seen only through their short tweets, through anger to governments and actions of others, through judgement or appraisal through the actual ability to sit down and engage online. Such gives an impression that maybe we are not doing well and are not strong enough if we don’t do the same, or worse when we will come out on the other end we will be the ones to lose if we do not show the right level of engagement.
Why I am going on about this? Having been looking at twitter for the past two weeks, I ‘ve been slowly getting off it whenever I can. The reason being that I find that we do not get anything new but constant recycle of information at the cost of extra attention at the time of the crisis. We also may see enjoyment, ability of people to adapt quick, organising their new space, doing nice walks, finding their inners creativity and talents, which is, of course, is very inspiring and at times like this It almost sounds that this epidemic is indeed one of the best things happened to us as humanity. However, how does one navigate around it if they are just moving through it, maybe struggling through it, can’t possibly afford to be in nice countryside isolation or cant focus in their nice working home space? How long will this last or are our over-aching optimism and drive are just the ways to escape?
My story is pretty short and maybe harder to resonate with those who I follow on twitter. I am postdoc on a short part-time contract where my key work is to learn new things, write the paper in a month and then look for the job again.I have few papers to write but it seems absolutely impossible to be able to do that now. I do not have a job offer to start soon and indeed, I find that maybe with all the research grants in the risk of being postponed many of those like me may stay without a job for quite a while. I don’t have children, but my family lives very far and they depend on me being financially as they also now won’t be able to work or find a job anytime soon. I am unable to focus on anything which is not an automated work and I genuinely get excited when the email arrives (just a few a day) just to see what is it going on anywhere.
What worries me in time like this that twitter more than ever makes us compare ourselves to other people lives who looks like they are ‘living’ while some might be right now on pause. On twitter, people remain talking about getting new jobs, about being great in their response at their work with students and colleagues, somehow know how to do better or have a better idea of the situation. Why do we do this? I suppose we all in need of recognition and this is our space to get it to be heard, especially now, we do truly need each other, now. We do need to share our thoughts with consideration where we can.
We cant just be angry at governments or laugh at other countries responding to crisis not as good as the one we live in or doing a better job, we need to stop being cynical for once just because no-one planned for this and our anger may be in fact a deep hidden voice of fear.
One may say I just have done the same thing. I shared my opinion on these but perhaps I just wanted us to wake up a little. I wanted this to be for others to read not to expose myself as someone who knows better. To invite a great consciousness out there for those who think that those who do not have a big job to do and maybe not struggle with navigating zoom meetings, who may not have children may have as much of a struggle just because there is not that much to fill one’s mind space or the work which is left to do may doom meaningless when the world is struggling with crisis.
I am grateful for Athene Donald for sharing what we just need, a little bit of kindness and acknowledgement of where we are now, an opportunity to pause and maybe realise that we are not the ones who suffer most here, we all are in the same boat and we might have a very hard and unproductive times: http://occamstypewriter.org/athenedonald/2020/03/28/working-from-home/
Maybe that’s a call for us to all write a little more, maybe more than 280 words, just to connect properly with each other and tell few little stories now and then too.