How the Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow
By Kayla Swartzberg (‘21)
Looking on the bright side (Photo: Public Domain).
Power stems from words and from actions. We can’t sit around yearning for better times when we ourselves hold the power to better this time. Perhaps the power to find the vaccine or create the tests is out of reach. Perhaps the power to diagnose or to find the treatment lies elsewhere. Perhaps the ability to reassure others sounds impossible. But that doesn’t make it acceptable to lose the strength. The chutzpah. The inspiration to, yes, get off the couch or roll out of bed.
The sad truth is that we have begun to pray to the news and transform into strangers hiding under the blanket of “bad times.” Hiding in houses, hiding behind screens, hiding behind stories to the point where it seems like there will be no tomorrow. If we are blessed with the mental and physical capacity to change how we are dealing with this, then it is in our best interests to improve our minds and bodies instead of giving into fear. And while in this particular case the only thing to fear isn’t just fear itself, it’s undeniable that people’s fears have, indeed, smoked personal views of the situation and clouded the logic so much that it’s hard to distinguish between fact and feeling.
That is not to downplay the gravity of this pandemic. Not at all. Suffering is occurring, and people are dying. It’s saddening, and these spiky realities hurt those who are aware of them. Ignorance isn’t bliss. Yet a child’s innate lack of knowledge could have correlation with his or her happiness and willingness to be carefree.
Now, I’m not proposing that we should ignore the problems of our times, quite the opposite. Staying informed is staying aware is staying protected. Knowledge trumps all. I’m proposing that we should revert back to our days as children (not that we aren’t still children, just bigger children I suppose) and remember what got us out of our beds and couches in the first place. Maybe we were excited for breakfast. To see our parents. Brothers and sisters. Puppies. Cats and dogs. To see friends. To read a favorite book or watch a good TV show. To color. Paint. Write. Run. To sing (perhaps off-key, perhaps horribly, perhaps all in the name of good fun). To dance. To run, and to play, and to laugh, and to love. To discover. To indulge in our curiosity. Therefore, because we are unable to venture out into the physical world around us, we must create our own world right here at home. Just like children.
Step one: start prioritizing passion over lazy preference. Example: if one has a passion for baking, one should bake instead of taking the easy way out and buying a cake. Another example: if one nurses a passion for painting, one should paint instead of going back to sleep. My brothers used to watch a television show called “Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu,” and one line from Sensei Wu really rings true for this, “Never put off until tomorrow what can be done today.” Time is precious, and we have now been given time at home to explore hobbies and interests. And while sleeping through the day and buying cakes have their own time and place (any form of relaxation does), it can’t start coming at the expense of losing one’s own joie de vivre, joy for life. Even hunger for life. Sometimes, you just gotta bake that cake and eat it too.
Step two: start talking. Talk to Mom and Dad. Or just Mom. Or just Dad. Brothers and sisters. Talk to Auntie and Uncle. That crazy cousin. Friends. To the dear grandparents. Speak to anyone willing to listen. Get the words flowing, the emotions spilling faster than apple juice out of a sippy-cup. Act like the one kid in preschool stomping his or her feet and saying, “I’m mad about this.” The more we’re able to truly communicate how we are feeling, the easier it will be for people to understand and relate to us. We’re all in this together (sing loud, sing proud), and the more that realization crystalizes in people, the better emotional state we’ll be in as a nation. And if we are in an improved emotional state, our amygdalas won’t go haywire as soon as we press those all-too-familiar buttons on the remote to watch the news.
On a similar note, it’s imperative to revert back to the times of the Declaration of Independence and place importance on the “pursuit of happiness.” Which leads us to step three: laughter. While laughter doesn’t actually qualify as the “best medicine,” and while calling it the “best medicine” will make me sound like a political nincompoop (due to our medically-focused times) and literary loser (cliché much?), something should be said for how laughter makes people feel good—even if just for a second. Children laugh at almost anything, even themselves. Unfortunately, in these times, nothing is a laughing matter. We’ve got to get creative. Perhaps pull out those old Robin Williams tapes. Watch some Seinfeld or The Office. Board games, Mad Libs, improv, karaoke, SNL, even old childhood videos are funny. Sharing and laughing during a phone call with a best friend. Drawing pictures for Pictionary.
See, all of the steps to create our own inner worlds are related to each other. Passion, communication, happiness… all three are intertwined to help us achieve that feeling of stability and that confidence to say to ourselves—to the sort-of-scared, sort-of-hidden inner children of ourselves, “The sun will come out tomorrow.” Even to sing it.