Adventures in Nature, Dealing with Humanity, Depression Aid, How To, Women In Engineering

Thoughts To Live Through An Apocalypse (Maybe?)

These are beliefs that keep me going when it feels like the end of the world (non religious specific).

We are all connected deeply.

While lying on my bed and staring at the popcorn ceiling – I realized my insignificant value to the universe. Each blue pocket of shadow, speckled across the warm white plaster represented one particle of CO2 in the polluted air that I was unwillingly breathing. And each random pattern reflected the number of people across the earth also staring at their popcorn ceilings, feeling hopeless. 

Because I spend a lot of my occupational time learning about math and physics, I sometimes picture my life like points on a graph. Each of my levels of being, reflect a new axis of patterns – but not too metaphysically. Because I know I am made up of small cells, made up of particles, made up of atoms (and onward), and that I can feel myself as a person assembling humanity, on a planet, assembling our solar system (and onward) – then I feel connected with everything.

I can watch the news and cry with tragedy and hope around the world because I can recognize the feelings of others in myself (though I’m not always able). And I can empathize with my own sense of self feeling great loss and joy – all within a day. The more that I feel love and compassion for others or myself, the more it exists to return to others or myself.

Everything can be contradicted.

After staring at my ceiling from a philosophical and comfy bed, I travel to the bathroom to stare at my face in the mirror – wondering, do I still have to pluck my eyebrows? As the green fluorescent light illuminates the cracked green clay face mask across my wrinkles, I lose that positive image of myself and the world. 

All I see when I look out from my Blade Runner style concrete slit of a window is the grey, orange and blue sky and a faint profile of purple, noisy buildings. How can I feel hope here? It is easy to panic when thinking about how all of the most basic necessities we need to survive may not always be available to us. And when we live in cities whose housing prices have gone so high that we feel like we are sitting on a shrinking island of cheap places above an ocean of homelessness – we may not always have the power to get those necessities if we need them. Wealth inequality makes me really depressed, and this is in part because my own self and family struggle at the low end of the economic curve – but also because I keep learning about new ways others struggle from their own experiences, and I just feel overwhelmed by how much we all struggle. 

Which is something I can feel the exact opposite of if I think of life in a different way. My ability to be optimistic and depressed cycle like the light from a cloudy sky. Though I may have a rainy climate, I still have moments where I feel like everything in my life is perfectly in existence – one that I am so grateful to be a part of.

While we must spend every action towards the increase of love and good living to as many people as possible – we have to continue even if we don’t achieve this within our lifetimes. We may endure the next great survival challenge of humanity – to be learned from in future histories of struggle. But within our lives, we live many important stories – all of which are impermanent. So, if something feels awful and overwhelming, try waiting it out until the clouds shift and your thoughts lead to sunnier moments.

We are inherently good and evil.

Every single person I know has such beauty and goodness and depth – but I also don’t believe it’s possible to be perfect. When the world feels like it’s ending I cannot stomach people who still want to waste time hating another person because of their identity. 

Yet, racism continues across our online platforms – and even though it ruins our day we hear it in passing through our timeline looking for our friends and family. But, there are still enough good strangers out there that I can stand on my balcony with them every night at 7:30PM to beat a can with a stick and cheer for our healers. As much as I cry over the betrayal and hatred that runs through our society (and through me), it is near what I cry over the kindness and support of humanity. Ultimately, everyone is my neighbour and we must find a way to live together. 

The grass is resilient, so are we.

The grass is growing longer than normal because people aren’t allowed outside to mow it – alot like my leg hair. And in the front lawn of our building (that we see from high up above), little green shoots of trees are starting to grow. Weeds are the most resilient, determined form of plant – wherever a crack exists, the grass comes through. We are a similar type of species I think. We are always expanding, and dreaming and creating. Did you see how many satellites are now orbiting the earth? Space clutter is the new messy bedroom – and it won’t be long before we find other planets to live with. While frustrating to deal with, a weed is a determined survivor – and we are too. 

Spring is blooming at this moment in our climate, with tiny blue flowers springing up from slushy brown grass to remind us what plants are like. All of this is happening on its schedule – even though the NBA is cancelled. We all keep on living no matter how weird things get. 

Nothing matters.

The font on my thesis is something that I was once considering worrying about just a few weeks ago. Now I don’t even care if I finish all the sentences. Is my style cool enough? Doesn’t matter since I can just turn off my camera in the meetings/hangouts. When the basics require me to worry about them a lot, I don’t worry about anything but the basics. 

Today I felt like a failure because my computational modelling wouldn’t work at all (I got a room temperature of 240°C – yet I’m about to try and get my masters in thermodynamics). And so I spent the day sewing face masks for people. I set my dining room table up for maximum manufacturing efficiency, and set out to cut up a bunch of cloth (chosen for aesthetic and function), imagining people that I would like to give them to. I only made six by the end of the day, and though my designs kept iterating – I still only had one that fit perfectly around the nose. So I felt like a failure again. 

But then I acknowledged how hard I am trying to live through an entirely new situation. My ability to function at all is of greater importance than the topic within which I function. My job is to live. 

It is time to return to the fundamental functions of life. I let go of the interpersonal struggles I was having to return to focusing on food, shelter, and internet access.

Now is the time to listen to yourself.

I found out that my coping mechanism for giant life changes is to return to my homesteading roots. When my university closed for the virus, I bought goats with my brother. At first it felt insane – and my boyfriend certainly required some space (though that’s only the distance from the kitchen to the bedroom) to think about it. So I’ve been really trying to hear what my thoughts, feelings, and memories are saying to me. I want to know how I react to this, and I want to know why I react like that. And the only way to do that is to humbly return to our self awareness. I genuinely dislike meditating. I wish I didn’t hate it, I’ve been doing it for so long (started concentration meditation as a kid but only seriously after 17) – but I find it so annoying. My mind can always think of a million reasons not to meditate, and unfortunately for me I often listen to them. But I’m treating it like brushing my teeth – a routine I would never give up and don’t consider it a nuisance – and I try to listen to myself before bed.

It tends to be the time when most of my thoughts have boiled to a pitch – when I am in the quiet light of the evening lamp and my insides are whistling. I try to listen to myself speak of great fear for the future, fear that I’m not a good person, fear that there aren’t good people out there, fear that no one knows what they’re doing. But then I hear myself sigh. And it sounds like when the waves crash on a pebble beach. And in listening to my breathing, I can feel how tightly I was clenching my stomach, and I can feel compassion towards the heart of mine that was aching through those thoughts. And that’s when I’m really listening, when I can be in the moment of this life. That is how I can survive each intensity of it.

It is a paradise to even exist on this earth.

Just watch nature documentaries, or your pet, or the sky, or listen to the noise or the silence of life outside. Find all of the angles of beauty and ugliness in your own home – and love it all as art. These are the paradises we each are uniquely given. The perspective of our lives at the end of the world while we live it. We are dancing with artists in different countries and languages while they play music in their homes, and we can read and write messages to each other and communicate in a seemingly infinite way. The jungle of houseplants in my home, that build up my environment of dusty, homemade furniture – with sewing project boxes everywhere and a tiny cat running through it like she’s on a hunt. This is an overwhelmingly beautiful existence. It is everything at the same time, and yet I am completely unprepared for it.

“Le vent se lève!…il faut tenter de vivre!”

-Paul Valéry

By the way, I am so sorry for still being slow at replying to messages. I am dealing with a lot of changes in this month and haven’t been able to manage everything.