Escaping From Our Daily Despair

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Escaping From Our Daily Despair

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Like most people living through these difficult times, I've found it exhausting to endure months without being able to see close friends and not being able to enjoy activities that I once took for granted. A lot of people have coped with these new, debilitating circumstances by adopting new hobbies such as baking breading and making pottery, but I've chosen to dig deeper into my favorite pre-pandemic hobby: reading.
Before the pandemic hit my radar back in March (Like it did with most people), I had already amassed a collection of books that I had gathered from thrift shops or borrowed from the Phoenix Public Library. These books, whose topics ranged from Chinese science fiction (The Three-Body Problem by Liu Cixin) to 20th century European history (Reappraisals by Tony Judt), have helped me partially escape from the daily despair that came from watching the national death count tick up toward 200,000 people and the anxiety that comes with having friends and family who work in the vulnerable service industry. I feel guilty about escaping from our deadly reality into the pages of fiction, but it's necessary to prevent oneself from giving in to darkness and corroding your mental health. Besides, it's not like I have anything better to do with all of this time. Sometimes, I'd rather think about how it would be like to live in Ceres Station (The Expanse series) or to be constantly reincarnated (The Years of Rice and Salt) than to see the cold, hard reality around me (We're on the road to 300,000 dead by winter's end). Sometimes, you just have to drink the soma to get through this brave new world of ours. I just wish it didn't have to be this way. I just wish we had done better as a society.

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This item was submitted on October 15, 2020 by Carlos Castro using the form “Share Your Story” on the site “A Journal of the Plague Year”:

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