It is easy to get consumed by thoughts on the vastness of time and opportunity. Add in the uncertainty created by a global pandemic, and it can become overwhelming. Like many people, I have begun the transition to working from home until the fog lifts. Home working can be mentally strenuous at the best of times, so I am sure that the foreseeable months will be extremely difficult for a number of people. Truthfully, attempting to function as normal whilst existing in an unprecedented state of uncertainty is far from an easy task.
Not only are we stripped of physical interaction with colleagues and peers, but the merit of our daily work tends to pale into insignificance against the ongoing battle of managing a global outbreak. We can’t help but to question the value of our professional duties and wonder if they are of importance in times like these. For me, will researching the transformative capacity of maritime communities really save the world right now? Probably not. Consequently, the motivation required to keep going can easily be drained and the quality of output restricted. However, reading Nuala O’Faolain’s memoir Are You Somebody?, a conversation on life’s self-discoveries, one thing can make a valuable difference; remembering what it is that makes you somebody. The somebody that you worked to be.
To tackle the self-doubt that might creep up throughout the coming days, therefore, we should continuously remind ourselves of the reasons that made us so driven to do what we do. The commitments and personal sacrifices that were made to support career advancements shouldn’t be undermined, even in such testing scenarios. Facilitating worries and anxieties with the opportunity to linger in our mind only embeds themselves further. Like all good gardeners know, you must remove weeds at their roots to truly rid them. We should remember that our work had relevance before this virus and, even if it is to be placed to one side for now, it will have relevance again. So, should my mind slyly ask ‘are you somebody?’ during some rain soaked afternoon in quarantine, I will feel comfortable knowing that I am.