Ways to Fill the Void

I’ve been struggling a little lately, in a way I think we all have been. We’ve been stuck in some awful, parallel-dimension-feeling way of life for over a year now, and it’s taking a cumulative toll on everyone.

Most days, I hardly even notice it – I think that’s common, too. Humans are highly adaptable. This has all, certainly, become a new normal. But sometimes it overwhelms me, as I’m sure it does to you, too. This feeling of smallness, of suffocation, of hopeless despair that we will never regain what we’ve lost.

Not to get too heavy or anything.

There is reason to hope. Vaccine rates are rising, case numbers are going down, things are beginning to operate on slightly more “normal” terms (though the reminders of the acute strangeness do still lurk overtop of it all). But we are definitely not out of the woods yet, which is definitely still something lingering in the backs of minds and draining all of us a little bit every day.

What made me notice this, for myself, is a strange pattern I’ve adopted. When I want something, I buy it. Not even a second thought.

Now, if you know me (I’m sure my sister is reading this and thinking, “um, yeah, Emma, that’s sort of always what you’ve done”) you know that I do love stuff. I am not a minimalist by any stretch of the imagination. I like things and I’m very transparent about what sort of things I desire.

However, I am also usually a fairly frugal fellow. It’s been years since I just whim-bought whatever I wanted for myself when I saw it. But I’ve been doing it for months, man, and it’s sort of becoming a problem. I’ve wasted a lot of money that I need for other things.

It’s also compounded by my reticence to do anything I want. I haven’t been writing or working on any passion projects. Heck, I’ve had hours of time to be able to work on blog things, and I just haven’t. Motivation? In the dirt. Any sense of moderation or self-denial? Also absolutely below ground level.

It looks, as I sit here and reflect, precisely like I’m trying to fill a void. Filling it with things is easy, so that’s what I’m doing, consciously or not. And, as I reflect on the people in my own life and the mood of the world in general right now, I think it’s what we’re all doing. We’re all filling the void; some are doing it better and more healthily than others, but it’s where we’re at.

I know I’d be happier (and have a little more money) if, instead of buying myself a cute enamel pin, I worked on my book or spent some time in the recording booth or read a book. But that feels so much like work, you know?

I think that’s what I’ll try. I’ll set myself a (low) pleasure-spending budget per month, and, when I put something in my cart, I’ll close that tab and open my word document and work on something good for the void-filling instead.

It’s okay to try and fill the void. We’re all feeling the void right now. But I need to try to do it in ways that aren’t harmful (even if that harm is relatively minor). And I think we all need to be monitoring that for ourselves at the moment; these are the times when it’s easy to begin to spiral and not even notice it until you’re all the way at the bottom.

These are my thoughts for now. Perhaps we’ll revisit this issue at a later date and see where we’re all at. For now, I wish you all luck, and I’m going to go consult my word document now. Wish me luck.

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