‘Life Is Pointless’ Might Be the Biggest Coronavirus Takeaway
There are endless takeaways from the current coronavirus pandemic:
- Don’t rely on one global supplier (China).
- Working from home works.
- The world is not prepared for significant outbreaks and needs to cooperate more. (Even though Bill Gates warned us about it.)
But the most significant takeaways are on a personal level.
The world has changed — and fast — forcing everyone to reassess their lifestyles before the pandemic. Suddenly everyone was forced to sit at home all the time. We were granted all this free time: all to ourselves. But we don’t know what to do with it. Should we learn to cook? Should we start writing? Should I build a business? Read all the books we’ve thought we’d read “someday”?
Nothing changed much on the outside — I was working from home before the pandemic — but everything did on the inside. When I got bored, I’d work from cafes. When I got overworked, I’d travel. And whenever I wanted — I could take my girlfriend to a pub and drink a pint or two. None of that is possible now.
I don’t know about you, but my life started resembling The Groundhog Day. I wake up. I eat breakfast. I write. I work. I am allowed to leave my London apartment just once per day. And recently — my girlfriend got sick, so we almost don’t go outside at all.
When you live life like this, it’s easy to see that it’s meaningless. All you do is feed yourself, sleep, exercise, and then repeat the whole process. Eat, sleep, shit, repeat. Life has absolutely no point.
Some days I am OK with this thought, but other days I obsess over it. What’s the point if there’s no point?
But — did life have meaning before the pandemic? I doubt it. We were just too busy to notice. There wasn’t more point in life before the lockdown and self-isolation. There was more movement. More interaction. More “busy-ness.”
The biggest (personal) takeaway from the COVID-19 outbreak is that life doesn’t hand out meaning. You can’t order it online, and you can’t find it under the bush.
When you’re sitting at home and have nothing much to do, this suddenly becomes more evident. But you won’t find meaning when the pandemic ends — you’ll just bury yourself with work, travels, going out and forget that you’ve looked for it.
So what can you do?
Meaning, as John Gardener so eloquently put it, “is something you built into your life.”
You can incorporate meaning into your life. Then it won’t matter whether you’re self-isolated, living on a deserted island, or have an apartment on Times Square.
You can create commitments, like starting a business or a blog, or dedicating yourself to some type of work. This will make your life meaningful. And you’ll soon find that the quality of your life depends on the quality of your commitments.
Is it watching Netflix? Life-long learning? Inspiring people with your words? Being the best son, husband, wife, girlfriend? Or is it understanding who you are — and the world you live in?
I am using this time to boost my creativity and to save money (which you don’t need that much anyway).
I am using this time to learn more about myself, and asking important questions, such as: “What do I want my life to be about?” — since nobody will give me the answer.
Of course, what’s happening is awful. I am sorry for all the people and families who lost their loved ones due to the pandemic. It’s truly horrible.
But on the other hand — this crisis is eye-opening. For the first time, people get the chance to meet with themselves face to face. To figure out what their meaning of life is.
And to create one for themselves.