Shelter-in-place: an opportunity to slow down

Lucas Bricca, Senior Writer

The shelter-in-place ordinance is the best thing to happen to America since Obama was in office. There’s plenty to complain about—I’m a senior, I should know. My class doesn’t get a prom, graduation or any of the events I’ve looked forward to for years. But the shelter-in-place has allowed me to reconnect with my childhood roots of creativity. I’m reliving the days where I came home from school and had an afternoon to enjoy with me, myself and I. During the school year, I couldn’t find a free afternoon if it was staring me in the face—even on weekends, there was always one more assignment to do, friend to see or box to check.

Katrina Arsky

Remember those drawings you used to create in preschool that were just a load of scribbles on a page? Completely enigmatic to any adult eye—but to you, they were a rocket ship or a fairy princess or a portrait of you and your BFF. Today, I couldn’t draw like that if I tried. In fact, I struggle to start drawing anything at all because I know it won’t turn out the way I want. But look back at 3-year-old you: did the scribbles look anything like an astronaut? Heck no. Did you draw it anyways? Heck yes, and you owned it. At some point during our childhood, we lose our ability to be unapologetically ourselves. We become preoccupied with results, and how we are perceived by others. But slowly, after three weeks of shelter-in-place, I feel like I am being taken back to my creative roots. I’m reading, writing and drawing. I’m remembering what I want to get out of life once it goes back to normal, and I encourage you to find what that is for you.

Long story short, boredom begets creativity. Science says so. Which is unfortunate, because boredom sucks. But I challenge you to put down your phone and just sit in a room with paper and some pens. And not to limit your creativity, but try to go beyond drawing a flower or tracing or writing your name in 12 different fonts. I challenge you to really express something from your own mind.

It doesn’t have to be drawing either. Creativity can be communicated through music, writing or any expression that you feel connected with. The goal isn’t to create something prophetic—the point is to fall in love with the process, rather than becoming fixated on a result. You’ll be taken a few years back, and you’ll explore corners of your mind you didn’t even know existed. This is what happens when you are bored, and it’s wonderful. Soak in the nothingness.

I’m not saying I’m glad the shelter-in-place is happening, but there is something to be said for slowing down life. There is something to be said for taking advantage of what is happening, and reminding ourselves that when we go back to busy life, we don’t have to abandon our creative minds. Now is the time to remember what it was like to be a kid. To pick up something you suck at, or to just sit and be bored and see what comes to you. You now have a month of absolutely nothing ahead, so let’s be honest: if you don’t do it now, you never will.