Apocalypse Burnout

It’s been said that a person can get used to anything. I guess it depends what you mean by “get used to”. I think we can get numb to almost anything. Even the idea of the world ending.

Burnout is a chronic problem in activists communities. And that’s no less true of the Post-Doom community. I’ve seen it happen to others. And I’ve experienced it myself.

So, if you’re feeling burnout, I have some advice.

First of all, know you’re not alone. It sounds cliche, I know, but in my experience, hearing that helps.

Second, know that, while knowledge endures, intensity of feeling waxes and wanes. You have to ride the wave, the peaks and the valleys. Our culture teaches us that we should be intensely happy all the time and intensively active all the time. But that just not human nature. So take a break.

When I’m in my valleys, I like to read this excerpt from Rilke: “Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final.” Remember: No feeling is final.

Third, and finally, pull your head out of your ass. I don’t mean this in an insulting way. And it applies to me as much as anyone else. But I think, to a certain extent, the anxiety that we experience when contemplating the “end of the world as we know it”, it’s, well, a function of privilege. We have the time and space to worry about a future which is not immediate. And that’s privilege. It’s not bad. It’s just a fact. And knowing that tells us something about how to respond to it.

The answer, I think, is to refocus on the present, on the joys and sorrows of the now.

Find some small pleasure to enjoy. Eat something delicious. And be intentional about it. Take a hot bath, or just take a minute in the shower to really feel the sensation of the hot water. Pull your car over and watch that sunset. Let yourself laugh. Enjoy the company of your friends. Enjoy your life, and refuse that nagging voice which tells you you need to feel guilty about it. ,,,

And then try to help someone who is struggling worse than you or some place that is worse off than where you live. Maybe hand out food at a food drive or serve plates at a food kitchen or bring someone groceries. Maybe pick up some trash in a neglected place that you can see the beauty of. Or just be kind to someone, let them know you’re glad to see them, that they matter to you. Find some small good you can for someone else.

This will help ground you. And it’s good work to boot. And then, when you’re ready–and only when you’re ready–you can return to your labor of love.

What to Watch (and not) after “Don’t Look Up”

Spoiler Warning!

In the last post, I reviewed the hit movie Don’t Look Up from a post-doom perspective. After watching it (twice), I went on a apocalyptic film spree. I solicited recommendations from friends and then watched several which I hadn’t seen before (and a few that I already had). I admit, afterward, I had to fight off the urge to stock up on ammunition and canned food, but I don’t regret it. So I want to share with you my recommendations for what to watch (and what not to watch) in the genre.

Continue reading “What to Watch (and not) after “Don’t Look Up””

What “Don’t Look Up” Gets Right and Wrong

Caution: Spoilers below.

Let me start by saying I really enjoyed Don’t Look Up. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. It’s not a great movie, in an artistic sense, but it’s both timely and entertaining–if you enjoy gallows humor. And it seems like everyone is talking about it. Don’t Look Up is still the second most-watched film on Netflix, a little over a month after its release.

Don’t Look Up is about two scientist, played by Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio (both of whom do a stellar job), who discover a comet headed toward earth. The comet is larger than the one that killed the dinosaurs and there is a 99.9% (100% for all practical purposes) chance it will impact.

Continue reading “What “Don’t Look Up” Gets Right and Wrong”