Yesterday, for #7daysofcoping, I took a stab at my thoughts on “7 days,” or a week (tl;dr — weeks are useless and absurd). Today, I’d like to think about the second half of my assignment: coping.
And, for me, I think one way that “I cope” (if I do at all) is by reading. Like many people, books have always been a refuge for me, and so I’d like to share some titles that I especially rely on. I’ll recommend seven, because whatever, seven seems to be a relevant number here. Yes, seven books for coping!
But let me preface this by saying that I don’t actually know what coping is.
The dictionary tells me that “to cope” means to “deal effectively with something difficult.” If we’re talking about relatively simple challenges like assembling a puzzle or cleaning the bathroom, then I can understand what it means “to cope.” You can “deal effectively” with a tile floor or a set of interlocking cardboard pieces, despite the inherent obstacles therein. Sure.
But if we’re talking about something broader, like being alive, here on this planet, in this body, at this moment in time, amid everything that surrounds us (and all of the things that can’t and won’t), then I don’t know if I truly believe in the idea of “dealing with it effectively.” In part because “dealing” is a little vague, and so is “effectively.” Definition-wise, we’re in an ambiguous jumble. We’ve got constraining terms, yes, but the terms are cloudy. Of course, anyone who is still alive at this moment is in some sense “dealing” with the situation at hand, sort of by default. Like: you’re alive? Okay: You’ve won! But effectively? That I don’t know. The universe is awful and doesn’t have a point system. Not like, say, basketball. I think we can agree that being alive isn’t, for the most part, basketball. I know how to be effective at basketball, but “effectively” is the part of “coping” that I think, in the broadest sense, might be impossible. And perhaps even unnecessary.