Salutations, Summer 2020! As I write this, I am safely cocooned while observing social distancing under a beach umbrella on my deck; Mishka sunbathing next to me. The seductive warmth of the sun is refreshing after spending all winter growling about the icy chill while huddled next to a space heater.
The summer weather is here, which, in typical human form, means all the people who were complaining it was too cold will now be bemoaning the complete opposite. Then again, those who have been complaining about the lockdowns’ tedium now will have something new to bitch about.
The sun gives you vitamin D which will help you to fight off the virus, folks. Stop complaining, turn off your AC and go sunbathe. I don’t care if you have to sit in front of a window inside to get it or have to sit on your front porch, just do it. Turn both ‘negatives’ into a positive and absorb your free virus fighting nutrient, no prescription or vaccine needles in sight.
This concludes my public safety announcement, thank you very much. I’ll step off my soap box. I’m getting off track.
Now still, everything feels deceptively calm from my rural corner of the woods. While the human world remains riveted to their TVs over the global pandemic, nature creeps on. The larger bumblebees are divebombing me while I sit, performing aerial kamikaze dogfights (they do this every year and attack each other, don’t ask me why). Birds are singing, flowers are blooming and all the new young of the woods are experiencing life for the first time.
Meanwhile all the humans in the neighborhood are out buzzing on their lawnmowers, killing their lawns while wearing masks. Ah, the joys of nature.
Still, this scene gives a lesson that has escaped most of our attention. Nature has raged on while we sit in fear, and largely without noticing any difference. Life goes on outside our own personal bubbles, regardless of what fearmongers insist.
While I poke fun, perhaps what I am trying to say is to enjoy life while you can. If anything, this pandemic has shown that our time is not proven or guaranteed to any of us. Instead of complaining (and believe me, I’ve seen it increasing 300% daily on social media), we so easily overlook that while we’re living, we’ve largely forgotten how to live.
Considering your smart appliances and cell phones, can you say you’ve spent much time enjoying life without them as of late? Both before the quarantine and after alike? I could ramble on about the dangers of allowing self-convenience to erode our self-sufficiency (if you don’t know how to boil water, you’re partially in the demographic I’m referring to), but I’d rather focus on the positive.
Choose one fun thing to do today that doesn’t involve technology as your host. I’ll bet you can very easily and without much thought. If not, then you have therein proved my point about self-reliance for me.
Coming from a scifi-fantasy-dystopian author like me, just what would you do if all the computers died tomorrow? Leaving out the survivalist end of that horror-esque scenario (good grief to those who can’t even boil water), what would you do to find joy once more if your tech devices died? To add a more science fiction spin, perhaps I’ll rephrase it to: what if Hal or big brother died? What would you do then?
Your joy should not hinge on your technology or on the state of the world around you. Perhaps the biggest casualties of this century is not what we think it is. Perhaps it is losing what it means to be human in this technological-transhumanism era; giving ourselves up to the soulless devices so freely.
In this moment, I dare you to take a few seconds to breathe. Let go of your fears and ask yourself what brings you the simplest kind of joy? That elusive feeling of peace and wholeness that nothing else can bring? You don’t need to leave your home to find it either, despite those complaining of cabin fever.
In the millennial era as it is, I have refused to hinge my life on whatever device is in my hands. And as I watch the world dissolve into chaos, I wonder if so many of those who are dissatisfied with their containment were truly living life at all before they were sequestered.
Inner happiness should not depend on anyone or anything around you. Despite loved ones or friends being a blessing to your life, they cannot carry your inner burdens for you. Your inner peace and joy rest within you, as they always have. And despite the advertisements to tell you otherwise for every new product on the market, they always will.
You alone control the inside of your mind. Never let anyone tell you anything otherwise. Fear may be our greatest enemy, operating unseen much like the virus that is has enhanced. But it has not won yet. And I pray it never will.
Find your joy. For in this era, perhaps it is all you have.
God bless you and your families. And to the essential workers out there, may you be blessed.
PS. My inner joy literally does comes from the inside of my own mind. I included this bit so that those who are annoyed (and there are always a few who don’t agree with me), will know I am not preaching to a choir. While I enjoy nature, music and many other things, all I need is a pen and paper to bring myself inner quiet. Even at that, when I don’t have those, my mind is still at its most content creating the stories and characters you have all come to know so well, both on paper and on film.
I pray that you find your inner joy as well, if you haven’t already.
XO Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel
If your inner joy is largely based in reading, make sure to check out my novels and series page. I bet that your next favorite book is there somewhere and I love bringing people to new worlds and adventures. Also make sure to check out Del Muerta: Sanctum of Hell. Every Friday there’s a new free chapter for you to escape into the city of Dejado Atrás!