• Jena Prystowsky

To-Don't


Photo: Suzy Hazelwood

The other day I saw a meme, which summarized, basically said that if you didn't take this time in quarantine to do x,y,z then you never lacked time, you lacked the desire. A few days later, I saw another meme that said (I'm paraphrasing, of course) if you didn't take time in quarantine to do x,y,z then don't worry about it because we are in a global pandemic and our priority isn't to strive for productivity- we should be concerned about self-care. I can actually understand both memes. Once people are in the work force, it's not often we actually get an extended period of time to ourselves and if we have dreams, this could be a time to start working on them. On the other hand, I was listening to a vlog the other day (I believe it was "For Harriet" on Youtube) and something Kim said really resonated with me- this hustle culture has the propensity to be toxic. It's okay to be productive but lately, it seems like we are trying to shame other people into being more productive. Like constantly productive. Is that even healthy?


We are in the midst of a pandemic; people have lost their jobs; people are working in critical occupations, risking their own health; people have had to adjust to working at home while simultaneously providing childcare and educating their children; the people who are supposedly "leading" us during this pandemic aren't experts in the field of epidemiology and it's uncertain whether or not they are actually taking the advice of people who are; you have some states and communities doing one thing, and others doing another so the response to the coronavirus has been disjointed and sloppy; and then to complicate matters further, Trump is throwing out suggestions on how to combat coronavirus like he's playing Pictionary. "Hydrochloroquine?" "Heat!" "Light?" "Disinfectant?" "Disinfectant!" "Inject disinfectant!" Oh...and then on top of everything, recent news headlines are talking about MURDER HORNETS. MURDER. HORNETS. So, yeah. I think we all need to take a breath and gather our thoughts right now. People keep suggesting that someone is playing a cosmic game of Jumanji, and at this point, I don't think they're wrong.


Maybe it's okay that we haven't checked everything off on our quarantine to-do list. It's okay that we've taken this time to recalibrate or even a few minutes to freak out a little bit. This is an unprecedented time so it's okay not to have (or strictly adhere to) a particular game plan. Our value is not in how many projects we can take on or how we can turn a crisis into monetary gain- this is a time to cultivate our sense of self-worth and to realize what's really important.


To be completely forthright, I have been a part of the hustle culture- I'm a person that had like a list of at least ten things I wanted to complete while on maternity leave. (A novel! A children's book! A screenplay! I wanted to become fluent in Spanish! And on and on and on.) In the end, I did make some strides in my personal projects but mostly, I healed, I spent a wonderful amount of time with my baby and my husband, and I learned how to be a mom. And it was wonderful.


So who knows how long this coronavirus will last and how long we will regard each other with suspicion. (Hey- it's Spring and I have allergies so yeah, I'm sneezing.) We can take this time to Netflix and chill, to hang out with family and Zoom call the family and friends who aren't in our household, to take bubble baths, to sing, to dance, to become impromptu educators, to read, and yes, to learn a language and work on our favorite hustle- but we shouldn't take this time to beat ourselves up for not getting everything done in these weeks. It's okay. I mean, there are MURDER HORNETS out there in the world. And it's very likely that person on Instagram was right and that UFO's are coming to beam us up next. Why not?