Updated: Oct 3
The past year and a half have been a real spanner in the works when you talk about our freedom to do things. That means a lot of things we loved doing, which involved stepping outdoors or being out and about, had out of compulsion been taken away from us (not that we could help it).
The result? 18 months is a long time to be without the things we love doing. So, that naturally lead most of us to find alternatives. Alternatives that could sufficiently, if not, in the same way, quench our dopamine thirst. I know some of us, especially those with a penchant for sports or fitness, quite comfortably recreated a physical space within our homes to harness their adrenaline rush. But for a lot of people, the natural recourse was finding things to do online.
Quite obviously, this meant that we’re on our smartphones/laptops for even longer than we were used to being: consuming social media platforms more, and more, with seemingly no end in sight. When we have more time than we are used to for a brief period, say vacations, we know that we are operating in a boundary. A boundary that allows us to set timelines, follow routines, balance. But when that finality or boundary is taken away, it takes with it our ability to balance.
A very simple example to explain this is talking to or observing students, either in college or school. A lot of students, during the pandemic, experienced some timeframe where they were without any classes to attend to or any pending work. This meant that they could finally spend a lot more time doing what they liked, but more often than not, more time on social media. From my conversations with students in the final year of school, parents expected these students to spend this newfound time preparing better for competitive exams so that they could increase their chances of landing their ideal college. But with no certainty about when their exams will be held, amidst the general cloud of uncertainty which the pandemic created, a lot of these students saw their daily life spiral out of control.
Not just students, people in general who were spending time online, experienced a severe inability to fixate and balance their work/education with fulfilling their adrenaline rush. Personally speaking, there came a point in this duration where my day involved watching videos on YouTube, scrolling through Instagram. Finding meaningful content to spur my creativity, but ultimately unable to put these ideas into motion. An overflow of creativity provided the adrenaline rush too early. This, in a way, paralyzed my ability to channelize my creativity.
Fortunately, what helped me overcome this paralysis of creativity was finding order in chaos. Creating set routines, timetables, deadlines gradually forced me to cherish the time I had to do things I liked and spur my creative drive. Creating balance when there wasn’t even a glimmer. Realizing, ironically, that creativity actually flourishes more in boundaries.