The Value of Regressing During Quarantine

Back in the Before Time—the pre-quar era, when beauty standards shamed us into bathing and not eating with our hands—it was important for adults to "act their age."

To function in society you were expected to eat healthy, keep yourself clean and presentable, and watch the same serious dramas as everyone else, so you could engage in informed, earnest discussions about blue meth and undead dragons. These were the prerequisites for stepping out your door in the morning—part of an elaborate performance of functional adulthood.

Well guess what? That era is over. Most of us are no longer required to step out of our doors in the morning, and those of us who still have to aren't being paid well enough to keep themselves clean and presentable amid all this chaos. There is no point in maintaining an illusion that you have everything under control in a world where absolutely no one does. Just like when you were a kid, you once again have very little freedom of movement and the world is once again a scary and confusing place. Granted, those issues never really went away, but it's no longer important for you to pretend. The time has come to regress.

Big bowl of cerealYouTube - Matt Stonie

Age regression isn't even a new form of self-care. While some find it to be a helpful (if controversial) therapy technique, people can experience different levels of intensity as a coping mechanism to relax and de-stress. If it's not an involuntary symptom of a mental health problem, then you can benefit from letting your inner child out.

So unless you're a world leader trying to exude the kind of cool-headed judgment that Americans tell fables about, just let go. Stress-eating ice cream and potato chips is now the healthy option for maintaining your sanity. Daily showers have been replaced by weekly baths, and pajamas last all day. Most important of all, there is far too much insane drama in the real world for anyone to emotionally invest in TV shows about murder, crime, and war. Drop the serious dramas and enjoy some cartoons. Take care of yourself as much as you can, but don't do so according to anyone else's model of "adulting."

Fortunately there has never been a better era to embrace your inner-child. Video games, toys, and candy can all be easily summoned from the comfort of your home. Instant gratification is the new restraint, and all your favorite shows and movies from childhood are streaming online.

Other people will probably tell you that you should be learning a skill or trade or exercising your creativity. All of that is fine, and if you have the willpower to get it done, good for you. But "should" has always been a deeply stupid word in these contexts. You "should" do whatever you need to. Even if you miraculously have the ability to focus right now, you have no moral obligation to learn Python just because you're stuck inside. And if you happen to find the conditions of a global pandemic somewhat stressful, it's entirely possible that what you "should" do is escape from reality more fully than you have since you were 10 years old.

Maybe that means re-reading Harry Potter, or watching Space Jam with a serving bowl full of sugar cereal. Regardless of your particular flavor, do not feel the need to resist the siren song of regression. No one needs you to be an adult right now.

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