Legal Law

Safety zone

You’re probably trying to avoid stressing out about the elections, results, and the matches that will be played in court between political football teams. Today is a great day. LARGE! ENORMOUSLY! AIIIIIGH !!!!

I won’t talk about that here.

Instead, I’m going to talk about something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. That means: I never had a blanket as a child. Or a teddy bear. I had nothing to hold on to for a moment of security. In a way, I think a large part of my childhood was preparing for 2020.

I thought about how smarter I was as a kid than now. To escape I would ride my bike all day. Climbing trees. See nature (as far as it existed near me). They might have been distractions, but also things that put me in touch with the larger world around me. They made me more peaceful too. Safe zones, so to speak.

It’s hard to live in a realm of constant drama. It changes minute by minute, taking you away from achieving a moment of stability and clarity. This is why we are exhausted, unable to sleep, and increasingly unable to communicate normally with one another.

What makes it WORSE is if you are one of the isolated people during the pandemic. You’re the one in the house who plays everyone else while you’re grounded. The FOMO is real, as is the grudge. And it could even be that your worst occurs and you, others who engage in such behavior, only wish you to justify the precautions you take.

I think the drama is easy to delve into because we lack the distractions we normally use. The drama is omnipresent, and even moments of flight can be a reminder of what we are avoiding. It’s like walking away from the pot you’re hoping to cook and being disappointed every minute if it doesn’t.

And if you’re a law student, wonder all about your grades, your exams, whether or not the bar is going to torture you like this year’s candidates, whether there will be other challenges that add more straws on your camel’s back.

I think the solution is to find moments of joy every day. That’s right: you need moments when your exclusive focus is on something that’s fun. Get your thoughts out of the gutter and read on.

Some use meditation to achieve this joy. You come into your mind and find clarity and peace. I have meditated before and hope to come back to it. Those were moments that brought me peace and made me think I could take anything. Regardless, it was a moment when the world hadn’t invaded on my best meditation days and was only slightly annoying on my worst. But I find it hard to sit still for a period of time, so I’ll understand if that’s not your thing. At first it wasn’t mine either.

Another option is to schedule a time each week / day to talk to a non-toxic friend. I don’t mean the person who makes your blood pressure rise. Not the one who wants to clap. I mean the ones you really enjoy talking to about topics that are fun. The friends who want you to win. This might be easier for people in healthy relationships. But sometimes it is also possible for people who are not in one to find these connections. Sometimes it’s easier to keep the world out like that.

If it is impossible to create a safe zone alone or with a friend, it may be possible to flee to another world. That could be with a book (preferably one that doesn’t reflect current events) or something non-electronic. A puzzle. Something that distracts the mind that is not focused on the screen, the world, the drama.

Some reach this moment through intense training. I tried it too. And there’s something to be said that I can’t catch my breath enough, that the world doesn’t feel as urgent as my desire for oxygen. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration. But the point is, those moments can get the same result if you enjoy them. If it’s just another job then you are missing out on the point. Exercise can accomplish another goal (e.g., reduce anxiety), but it is not a moment of pleasure.

It’s not enough to take a break from the drama. What is required is that there be something valuable and joyful beyond drama. What is required is that we take these moments – that we take time for these moments. It’s easy to say we don’t have time for this, but for some reason we have all the time in the world to fear.

Perhaps steal from the time you spent in fear and give those moments of seeking joy. It won’t make the world a better place – that requires compassion. But it can make the world better for you for a moment.

LawProfBlawg is an anonymous professor in one of the top 100 law schools. You can see more of his reflections here. He’s a lot funnier on social media, he claims. Please follow him on Twitter (@lawprofblawg) or Facebook. Email to [email protected]

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