I Refuse to Feel Guilty About Not Being Productive Right Now

Much of how I envisioned myself thriving during social distancing was wrong. Just a few weeks ago I was confident I'd dish out YouTube videos every day, write at least five articles a week (including inspiration-induced poems), and most definitely color-coordinate my closet at last. Turns out I'm doing much less with my time than originally planned. But every day I ask myself . . . exactly what is my problem with slowing down?

I'm not going to feel guilt when I don't produce. I'm not going to make lemonade; I'm not going to make anything.

Our economic system's sole foundation is the production of goods and services — we produce one or the other every day. So when my boss told me my hours were being significantly cut due to the ongoing pandemic, I shifted my thinking. I said, "Well, if I'm not producing here, I'll produce elsewhere and work on my side hustles." And that's what I did. But then I realized I couldn't sit at my favorite coffee shop when I got tired of working from my home desk, and I couldn't frequent my favorite yoga class to relieve my back pain from slouching over the keyboard all day. Plus, there's only so much content you can produce on YouTube before your channel ends up looking like a low-budget version of the movie Room.

Finally, after a few days of guilt-ridden sleeping until 1 p.m. and googling how to make cocktails from the ingredients you already have at home, I decided I'm not going to feel guilt when I don't produce. I'm not going to make lemonade; I'm not going to make anything. And then a wave of inspiration came to me and I suddenly had eight new ideas for all of the things I was going to do with my time — the irony. At peace with having no expectations for myself, I was able to stop producing and start playing or dancing, metaphorically and literally. As a result, I feel compelled to share my newfound discovery with you.

You have been gifted time to be idle.

I know it sounds a little Eat, Pray, Love, but it's true, and as life should have it, that's what I've been doing these past few weeks: eating, praying, and loving. That's how life has been for me, and from what I read on the internet — plus the rise of cooking Instagram lives on my home feed — for many others, too.

It's a time of changeable doing and non-doing. Life will not always be this way, and you will most certainly not always have the time you have been gifted now: the time to pass. So take advantage of creating when you feel like it, and not creating when you don't. I imagine this is how artists live, by their own little rhythm; how they extract the magic from quotidian life, move at a reasonable pace, and then eventually, make the lemonade.