The title (above) belongs to its author, Thomas Paine.
Does that name ring a bell?
Do you remember sleeping though high school history class? Then you might not remember the name and, for wont of an exercise of mindfulness and attention, Common Sense may also escape you.
Common Sense, some of you will recall, was the name Paine gave to a series of pamphlets, containing essays that he published between 1776 and 1783.
One essay famously began “There are the times that try men’s souls. . . . ” https://www.ushistory.org/paine/crisis/c-01.htm Circa 1776.
And now, again, we are faced with times that try men’s and women’s and children’s souls, in so many new and unexpected ways.
We are, in a sense, a world at war. The adversary is real. The threat of harm is real. Lives are being lost. The inconveniences and shortages and restrictions are mounting.
While the threat and the hardship is real the response and reality is somewhat different than a war of arms and munitions.
The front lines are in hospitals, not on foreign shores. The soldiers on the front lines are nurses and doctors and healthcare workers. Their weapons are their knowledge and skills at the diagnosis and treatment of infectious disease.
Joining the healthcare workers are workers in food stores, daily exposing themselves to risks we are told to avoid by staying home.
And delivery personnel.
And a host of others whose job, as always, is to keep things running.
For the rest of us it’s time to do less. To busy ourselves and our lives a bit less. To not venture outside our homes and our yards, except perhaps to take a stroll at a safe distance from others.
Is this a time of leisure? Are we faced with enduring a mandatory life of leisure? Is a “stay at home” order a mandate to a life of leisure?
Probably not for most.
We must work to pay the bills, so we endeavor to work at home. We must acquire food to feed the family, so we venture out to face the uncertain danger of merely walking the aisles of stores that never before posed a threat to our health, our lives. We must school our children, so we take on new roles and new tasks.
Yet, amidst all the turmoil and trouble and potential terror, there is also a State mandated “quiet time”: Stay home. Don’t travel unless truly necessary. Distance yourself from others. Do not do so many of the things that, not so long ago, left little time for anything else.
Now we must slow ourselves down. We must not run from one event to another. We must also ease off on the endless acts of consumption.
It is a time of NOMOFOMO (No More Fear of Missing Out), because there’s less and less to miss out on: no concerts, no parties, no more social events of the season.
Do what you must.
When you’re done completed all the odd jobs on your to-do lists (many of which you won’t be able to complete for wont of venturing out to Home Depot and sauntering up and down the endless aisles of fix-it-stuff) then . . . slow down your mind.
Accept that you are, by Executive Order, required to adopt a more leisurely pace and lifestyle.
Appreciate it, for worrying is not going to improve your situation and will likely only deplete your mental reserves (and add to your stress).
Even though it’s a poor (or worse) “excuse”, for the moment you are excused from doing and doing and doing . . until you drop.
Exhale. Let go. Relax.
At this time of crisis a life of leisure is not a fault.
It is currently a requirement, for many of us and benefits the health of our society, our nation.
While you are learning to slow down you might consider making a meal for a healthcare worker or someone else on the frontlines. Then drop it off on the doorstep, ring the bell but don’t engage.
In your time of mandatory leisure do small kindnesses for those less “fortunate” – and quite possibly far more stressed – than you.