In the middle of a deadly pandemic that is wrecking havoc on our daily lives and livelihoods, it is a mistake to dismiss the emotional toll that the loss of small pleasures is having on our mental health.
By David Todd McCarty | Thursday, April 2, 2020
I love baseball.
Not in a fanatical sort of way where I know every player on the team’s hometown, can rattle off obscure stats and spend my off hours watching old games I missed on my DVR. I’m what you might call a baseball romantic. I like the idea of the game a much as anything. The sights and sounds, the rhythms and spaces, the announcers and their endless banter. The easy going nature of the clubhouse manager with his awe shucks charm. The cocky energy of the rookie phenom and the casual nonchalance of the grizzled veteran. The goofball announcers with their quirks and inside jokes. I love it all.
I know it’s just a game. A silly game where grown men wear strange outfits and little hats and chase a ball around a field with an oversized mitten and a wooden stick. But as they say, it’s also a pastime. Something to pass the time. And while it should be going strong right now, like everything else in our lives, it’s currently on hold with an uncertain future.
We find ourselves living in strange times, to put it mildly. We don’t have a functioning federal government, the environment is a B-grade Hollywood disaster scenario, we’re in the middle of an economic meltdown caused by a deadly pandemic, we’re all stuck in our houses terrified that we or someone we love, will get sick, and for some reason 39-year-old Jared Kushner is in charge of our well being.
Our stress level is at an eleven.
So while we continue to be shattered by news of friends, acquaintances, or even beloved celebrities getting sick or dying, millions losing their jobs and an entire country petrified by the catastrophic failure of our government, it’s worth noting that feelings of loss don’t grade on a scale. Sure we don’t count the loss of a loved one the same as your favorite show getting cancelled, but the reality is, a loss is a loss. Those of us who have not born the pain of losing anyone to the virus yet can empathize even if we haven’t experienced it first hand. But while we wait for the inevitable to find us, we worry and we mourn.
The point being you should not feel bad about feeling bad about whatever it is you feel bad about. You might not need to tell everyone on social media that your goldfish died, but that doesn’t mean you don’t feel bad about it. I mean, come on, on top of everything else, you needed that bit of bullshit? You didn’t.
We are all dealing with a frightening new reality where our lives have been turned upside down and shaken, and sometimes, what falls out are our loose screws. Maybe it’s like a piece of IKEA furniture. At the end of the day you’re always left with a few random nuts that don’t fit anywhere and didn’t make sense in the first place.
Embrace those feelings of melancholy for the things you miss. The guilty pleasures you don’t want to admit to the world. The little things that made you happy but which are now deadly or unavailable. Those sparks in your daily life, chance meetings, a puppy that crosses your path, a human touch, the thrill of unpredictability, a change of scenery.
As for myself, being the unapologetic introvert that I am, haven’t really felt all that deprived. I’m happy to stay home. Thrilled in fact. All the things I like to do are here. Music. Books. Magazines. Newspapers. Twitter. Drawing. Now I finally have an excuse.
Except baseball. There is no baseball. Not even on TV. I miss it and I won’t apologize for it. But I am happy to give it up for the good of everyone. I will definitely be happy to see it return. Maybe there won’t be crowds at first. No one in the stands. But like late night talk shows that have reverted to hosts’ living rooms and casual attire, we will get used to it. Maybe even revel in the uniqueness for a time.
What I really want to know is what the rest of you have been missing. What are the little things you mourn? Drop us a line and we’ll post our favorites: firstname.lastname@example.org