Quarantine encourages a lot. Newton, for example, was forced to leave Cambridge University during the plague. Having settled in his county, he worked hard. It was then that the law of universal gravitation was discovered. The most fruitful period of Pushkin - "Boldinskaya Autumn" - also fell on the period of self-isolation. The poet spent three months in captivity due to cholera raging in Russia. It was in the village that he finally finished Eugene Onegin, Belkin's Tales and Little Tragedies. And he also wrote 32 poems.
The first days at home, we all made grandiose plans too. Blow off the dust from an English textbook, use the exercise bike for its intended purpose, not as a hanger and dryer. Or, after all, watch the hundreds of downloaded TED lectures. For example, how to be productive at all times. But something went wrong. Instead of master classes and tutorials, many get stuck on funny videos on TikTok. Here J.Lo changes outfits with her boyfriend in a second, but thousands of fans repeat the trick after her. Here's designer Stella McCartney on Instagram cheerfully sliding down the stairs on a blanket and passing the baton to Drew Barrymore. And then there are these stars with their pillow dresses and travel bloggers on snowboards made of ironing boards. Fun but pointless. But ahead is a frightening unknown, no time for jokes. Gotta be on the lookout and use the timeto master a new profession or to understand how to advance oneself in new conditions. Or not? Ridiculous challenges are what: a way to relieve stress or fooling around with nothing to do? And is it worth participating in them if you really want to, but can't think of why?
Remember this, unforgettable, from childhood: "And if everyone starts jumping from the roof, will you go too?" Let's be honest: Challenges appeared in the world long before the Internet. Do something scary, strange, dangerous, and then challenge others: are you weak? "My own director" made money on this even when telephones were equipped with dials and buttons. Walk barefoot over the burning coals and never even say "Damn!" Swim the bay. Eat 50 burgers.
But this is the same initiation - a test of body and spirit, initiation and acceptance into the tribe among the ancient peoples. If you want to survive, to be popular, to be like everyone else, to prove your belonging to a certain group of people, repeat after me. Now that many have lost some status - giving directions or reading praise on WhatsApp is not as exciting as in real life, at a planning meeting - new forms of approval are required. Likes, reposts, comments. Maybe even celebrities will appreciate it or the media will tell it on the news.
And it all began beautifully
The first large-scale challenge, which was remembered by most, happened in 2014, long before the pandemic. True, then he still had a mission - to talk about amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, to raise money for the treatment of people with such a diagnosis. For the Ice Bucket Challenge, volunteers doused themselves with cold water, poured a bucket of ice on their heads. Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Robert Downey Jr., Steven Spielberg, Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga and other celebrities took part in the action. But the most powerful, of course, turned out to be the video of the NHL hockey player Paul Bissonnett. For the shooting, he rented a helicopter and went to the mountains. The video went viral, with about 10 million people watching it. But it worked - in a month, an ALS charity raised nearly $ 100 million.
Another memorable marathon, the Mannequin Challenge, was launched in 2016. Then even Hillary Clinton took part in it. Well, a great way to get closer to the young electorate.
Last year's hit was the Tetris Challenge. It was invented by two police officers from Zurich, having published a photo taken from a drone: helmets, handcuffs, body armor laid out next to a company car. Doctors, builders, engineers, designers, videographers and women in the beauty industry are also involved. It doesn't make much sense except to show the wrong side of the work.
But the current actions do not even reach that level. No mission, no help. Here it would be to save yourself, get yourself out of depression and routine. Every day is similar to the previous one, even a trip to the store is perceived as an Indiana Jones expedition. Be careful, try not to cross with anyone, do not touch anything, move at night. And at the end you will receive a treasure - a pack of buckwheat or a sanitizer. How not to be sad here?
So people who are trying to do something. They change their clothes, cut the grass on the lawn with scissors, practice blows with toilet paper. Just for fun. To pull yourself out of dull everyday life and add at least a little positive. Yes, even if only for the sake of someone else's approval. We are, after all, still social beings, albeit in self-isolation.
Psychologist, gestalt therapist
There is nothing wrong with challenges as long as they meet two points: they are safe and do not become addictive. The recent marathon of eating dry turmeric or cinnamon on camera has resulted in allergic reactions and stomach problems for many participants. The same dousing with ice water without habit or a trip on the mattress up the stairs can end very badly. So, if you get involved in an adventure, soberly assess the possible consequences. And think: will it make you happier? Likes will bring satisfaction, replace “social stroking” at work or university? Then have fun. If it has become some kind of drug: not a day without a challenge, you have to be in trend, even if it does not bring pleasure, then you should think about it. And look for a resource in something else. Communication with loved ones, for example.
Do not be ashamed to say that you are sad, lonely, that you want to "get on your hands", more compliments and warm words. We all need this now, and in this total lack of praise and encouraging words, we forget that those around us need it no less than we do. So call a friend or colleague right now and tell them that you are missing his jokes or advice. Save the world from a new challenge. Seriously though, for some, engaging in something like this becomes a way out of their comfort zone. And that's good too. If at the same time the marathon becomes social, some kind of online activism, it's fine. Attach animals from the shelter, taking pictures with them, for example. Or get creative, study art history by recreating old paintings from scrap materials.