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04/13/2020

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Kate Norlock

My studies of past evils include marveling at how determinedly most humans run to normalcy, bury the past and eagerly act as if it did not happen. But this is all the more reason to value your post. Like you I hope that more will remember this and act on it than not.

Marcus Arvan

This is a really great post, Helen. I am really curious to hear about other people's experiences of ostensive clarity.

I've had some of the same experiences of clarity as the ones you express here. One other piece of (seeming) clarify I've experienced, though, is just how royally screwed up our pre-COVID way of life was at a fundamental level--its hecticness, competetiveness, rat-raceishnness, etc. I mean, I think I always knew this at some basic level, but it never seemed as crystal clear to me as it does now.

For the first time in ages, I've seen parents out walking with their children (rather than shuffling their children from one organized after-school activity to another), couples outside walking and talking with each other, people simply sitting outside in the quiet air, etc.

Life has slowed down in a way that quite frankly reminds me a bit of what life was like during my childhood. Days go by much more slowly now, and although in obvious ways COVID-19 life is incredibly stressful (people losing jobs, getting sick, worrying about loved ones, how to pay the bills, etc.), in other obvious ways people have been suddenly removed from the hecticness and stresses of our normal daily lives. Most everything we normally do has been stripped away from our lives almost overnight.

In my own case, this has resulted me in being able to actually sleep well for the first time since grad school. Although serious insomnia runs strongly in my family, it has really hit home just how much of the hecticness and stress of my pre-COVID life seems to have affected that very basic biological need and process. I expect that the insomnia epidemic (https://www.sleepdr.com/the-sleep-blog/cdc-declares-sleep-disorders-a-public-health-epidemic/ ) is at least in part a reflection of just how at odds with our basic psychological needs and desires our modern way of life is.

Anyway, that's been one of my own felt points of clarity. I don't know if others feel it too. But I do.

Helen De Cruz

Marcus: it's interesting how you mention (in the many points you talk about - sleep has been so much better for me too!) the parents walking with their children. It seems to me a genuine culture difference between the European countries I lived in and the US, the culture of ferrying your kids back and forth to clubs (we don't do that, the kids both attend one club in their school - not now obviously, as school is running remotely). I found the expectations of parenting here as hectic as the rest of American life!

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