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The COVID-19 Diaries day 4

03/25/2020 09:39:05 PM


יום רביעי, כ"ט באדר, תש"פ
Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Personal space

There are introverts and extroverts, people who are more comfortable and able to express themselves best in small groups, and people who are most comfortable and at their best, in a larger social context.

I have a hunch that both of them are struggling right now. The extroverts are struggling because the best they can do now is a Zoom birthday party (we already had two this past week), but even the introverts often need to recharge by being alone. If you have a large family, and a small house; personal space, both in the physical and psychological sense, is hard to come by. For me personally, the noise and action level in my house for such an extended period of time has been draining for my psyche.

This reality has led me to select a particular schedule for myself that I would otherwise not necessarily have chosen.

In a vacuum, I would ideally be rising first thing in the morning to daven ke-vasikin. As of now, that means finishing Shema and starting Shmonah Esrei at 6:50am. Since there is not even a tzibbur with which to daven at the same time, the value of davening simultaneous to others davening alone is unclear. Yet the value of davening ke-vasikin is undisputed.

My problem is this. I know that I am not a morning person. I learn better after a coffee at night when its quiet, than I do tired in the morning, anxious that the kinderlach could awaken at any moment. After a long day of noise and action I recharge in the calmness of sleeping children. To get up early, I would have to go to sleep early, and forfeit my nights, which would not only mean losing recharge time, but also focused learning, and time to schmooze and hang out with my wife, and in general, time to relax. To make a cheshbon short, in order to have the mental personal space that I need to be me, and function as a happy, mentally healthy Abba, which is what I need to be more than ever right now, it’s smarter for me to stay up late and wake up late.

The moral of the story is that while on the books, certain structures might seem ideal, we have to know ourselves and what’s better in the bigger picture. ובלבד שיכוון לבו לשמים.

  17 Iyyar 5784