embrace the po-valley


Critical times like the one we are just collectively going through can be quite useful in their lack of productivity. It sounds strange at first. To see how watching three seasons of Himym in a row and stuffing oneself with Häagen-Dazs in the meantime can actually be good for you, is not obvious.

We tend to always search for the best we can make out of a situation. We want to make use the time we have, not wasting it for non-sense watching series we've seen five years ago or scrolling through social media in zombie-mode, searching for the latest corona memes. Times like these are for new beginnings, for inventing ourselves in a way we've never thought of before, for learning Japanese and how to plank for two days. For kicking off the start up business idea we've been growing in our head since 2016 and for finally scrubbing the tiles in the bathroom. But laying in my hospital-bed since six days, not being allowed to take a walk outside, nor to shower myself by my own, and seeing every muscle I ever had disappearing, does not really get me pumped for all this. Thanks Dengue!

Digging the pit

What I do feel instead is a yawning void, balancing between feelings of guilt for not having managed to get productive and the desire to just sleep all day long, even if I'm not tired. The fact that I'm privileged to live in a healthy, fit body, having a clever brain and all the resources to live an interesting, thrilling life in a time which gives me too many opportunities for my brain to think of, does not really give me more clarity about for which feeling to go. I see all the starting points to optimize myself; I see the possible ways to do it and I even see how potentially happy I could be with the outcome. I  see why I should take steps and why I should take them now and not later. I'm seeing so much and yet I decide for getting passively educated by Netflix documentaries once again. I do so, because I feel overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by what I do expect of myself but don't fulfill, by all the other mid-twenties who call themselves authors, speakers, artists and digital-nomads and by my fucking incapacity to finally take a step and break a pattern significantly, so change can happen. 

and getting out

So, I find myself in a hole I created without anyone's help - and now I have to figure out how to get out of it. The task requires me to think about the smartest way to do it in order to preserve myself and not waisting too much energy which I don't have. So trying to find my way out by jumping as high as I can and still not high enough until I sink like a wet bag, is probably not a good idea. It rather leads to conquering and telling myself that it is okay to die in a self-digged hole if I'm just not able to get out myself, and so, remaining in unchanged patterns. What this over-motivated but quite stupid version of myself forgot is, that there is always a way out, you just have to work with what you got. And sometimes we don't have much. We have to do things in order to gain energy back again. We have to listen to ourselves and serving ourselves with what we might need to be able to spend energy on things we desire, are helpful and which show us the way out of the po-valley. Sometimes, these things are unproductive at the first sight. It might be engaging in a meditation quest, it might be cooking nourishing meals or it just might be being alone and watching Netflix for 10 hours and really enjoy a break you gave to yourself. 

Whatever fills such lacks of yours - doing anything which is required for this, for yourself, is the most productive thing you can do when you find yourself stuck in life. Laying around sick and feeling like shit physically and mentally clearly shows me: If you don't feel good yourself, you can't create anything out of your inner artspace, you can't grow and you can definitely not be there for others. Cause if you don't have anything left to work with, what will you be working with? Soaked out of energy, feeling unsatisfied needs and desires you could serve with just spending a little time and care for yourself, won't provide you with the energy you need to make things happen and to actually find a strategic way out of the hole. And even if you gave yourself all you need and still sit down there, unable to leave the darkness - there is still helping hands you can reach out for and get back in the light again. 

Julia Held

I am a philosophy masterstudent, a writer and host of the podcast of "Transformatorenwerk Leipzig". I am interested in philosophy as practice - for creating one's life, for personal and emotional development and for a balanced and exciting life. My vision is to strengthen the person as a responsible subject which thinks and acts by itself while answering to the world it encounters.