Hey guys, Daniel again.
So, I guess I came off a little bitter in my last blog post. Maybe I treated this platform the same way I used to treat my Xanga, which was basically whining into the void for the two or three fellow emo teens that would read and comment how they "totally know what I mean and life is hard".
In spite of the fortuitous timing of the release of a video game that lets you live out a social life among anthropomorphic animals, I've seen a lot of people expressing online how much they are struggling with being cooped up in their house. So, in an effort to make up for my adult angst, here are my top 5 general tips to be better at living as a Social Distancer.
1. Practice FONMO (Fear Of Not Missing Out)- The idea here is that you need to learn to dread getting dragged into social activities. Focus on the negative aspects of gathering. Think about those awkward conversations you can't seem to get away from where they want to talk your ear off about this new theory they are obsessing over or how you should download their new app and browse it while they are watching you. Consider those psychologically taxing moments where you're at a party, lodged in a high school style circle of people talking about something you don't care about, and you see someone you actually WANT to talk to shows up but you don't know how to extract yourself from this chat circle without apologetically letting them know they are boring and you hate them.
Also, when you don't get to miss out on things like meeting up with people, you DO miss out on binging your favorite show. It's horrible when the writers leave you with a nasty cliffhanger and you have to rush out the door to be on time for whatever dumb thing you're going to.
Once you've been able to channel the anxiety of moments like this in your mind, you are well one your way to becoming a serious SDer.
2. Weigh the all the pros and cons of engagement- Sometimes we get so caught up in the enthusiasm of being "involved" in things, we forget to consider how much time, money, and comfort we are sacrificing for the possibility of a good time. Think about how much it will cost to call a ride-share worker, how traffic could make you later than "fashionably late", and how when you get there the place could be almost dead OR there could be so many people that you have to stand around awkwardly because there is nowhere to sit and even if there were somewhere to sit, it would look like you are disengaged which could be a bad look. Then consider how your favorite couch or chair is free to sit in, all the things you like are around you, and no one is there to judge you if you eat too loudly or drink drinks that actually taste good all night and cost a tenth of what they would from any bartender.
3. Find a hobby or passion project that you like better than being around humans- I know this is a tricky one to know where to start for many, but trust me when I say, this IS VERY DOABLE. The psychological reward at being good at something FAR outweighs that instant gratification boosts you receive from human interaction. It truly doesn't matter what you get interested in. You can become a master at anything now that we have the world's knowledge in the palm of our hands at all times. Pick ANY topic that you are mildly interested in and pursue a state of obsession with it. You can, with enough effort and practice, learn to create tunnel vision for yourself and block out all aspects of social demand. Quickly, you will find that your project delights you in ways that people never could. Then start posting you work on social media and begin to maximize your good feelings by stacking the thrill of validation on top of your established constant drip of project-induced euphoria.
4. Take pleasure in bearing no responsibility for the folly of the world outside your home- As you watch through the little glowing windows littered around your house (your phone, your computer, your TV, your other TV, your tablet, your smart refrigerator, etc), take pride in knowing that you had no hand in the train wreck that is the civilization you grew up in. You do no harm, you do no good, you just exist. You are a whisper on the lips of time. Faultless. You will vanish quieter than you arrived. In this you can find true peace and also uncover the deep, yawning void that is our existence. At last you will see yourself in perspective- a minuscule speck that has accidentally found cognizance just long enough to feel true terror but will soon disappear and be released forever.
5. Adopt a dog or two- I probably should have led with this one because it's likely the easiest way to start Social Distancing but, I'm not going to bother to re-order things now. We're pushing ahead with reckless abandon here because I've got other things to do like draw a new character for my DND campaign. ADOPT A DOG. Dogs are great and although they can be really needy, they are not in the way that humans are needy. Older dogs are especially ideal because they need you to be the laziest you that you can be. Just sit down and snuggle them. Watch a movie, (whichever movie you want it doesn't matter!) and share body heat with your dog(s). There are tons of dogs that need homes and the affection of someone who has time for them. As an SDer, you now have so much time for them. You can literally adopt a pack of dogs and it is almost no more work than just adopting one. Order all your dog food online, let them outside (have someone put up a fence if you don't have one already), and make sure they have water. Then, just snuggle the heck out of them and do low energy stuff. Also, you can talk to them all you want without people thinking you're crazy because no one is around you, so you will never actually get lonely. It's perfect!
So, there you have it. My top 5 suggestions for getting the hang of this new lifestyle you've chosen to take on. I hope this helps, but if not, don't email me about it because... I'M TOO BUSY. My senior dogs need me to let them out so, until next time...