When I was a teenager I overheard my Grandmother saying very straight-faced, after being complemented on her 50th Wedding Anniversary, “Well they weren’t all good years.” I was slightly shocked to hear her admit that, especially in the midst of her celebration, but most everyone around who was married for any length of time nodded in agreement. In the ensuing years, I have come to realized that life often brings harsh challenges, sometimes a whole avalanche of them, and these can alter even the best of relationships. My spouse & I have weathered many such hardships, most certainly there have been periods when we weren’t sure we would survive. When COVID sheltered us this worry intensified because all I heard about via every social media outlet was the spiking divorce rate due to the lockdown. I started to obsess it would happen to us, but eventually I had to stop reading the negative news, focus on my present day, let go of the fear and the hype, and believe in what we have built together over the decades.
“It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing.
Languishing is a sense of stagnation and emptiness. It feels as if you’re muddling through your days, looking at your life through a foggy windshield. And it might be the dominant emotion of 2021.
As scientists and physicians work to treat and cure the physical symptoms of long-haul Covid, many people are struggling with the emotional long-haul of the pandemic. It hit some of us unprepared as the intense fear and grief of last year faded” (Grant).
Last week, everyone read The New York Times article, everyone nodded a yes, and I too thought, this is exactly what I am feeling after this past year. Before I read the piece, I had coined the sense as ‘mopey’. Just that downcast and defeated feeling after a hard year of cynicism and despair might leave you moping around your living room.
Today I was struck by the sentiment found in Marvell’s “To His Coy Mistress” which, ironically, was published posthumously in 1681. Carpe diem then, and now. Here are the tenets: “Carpe diem is a philosophy that took hold in Europe during and after the Black Death plague (1348-1350). The population had seen so much death and destruction that some people embraced the philosophy that every day is a moment to be made the most of, whether it be to eat or to love. All of life’s pleasures are to be indulged; there is no time for waiting because tomorrow might never appear” (CourseHero). Sounds like the perfect philosophy for life after the black plague, and most certainly the days post COVID19. I think we are universally on the crest of roaring back with fervor once more!