News of a strange phenomenon is trickling down the grapevine. Scores of housemates seem to disappear during daylight hours. Groningen is going nocturnal, and not in the good old-fashioned way.
Each day, I wake up nearer and nearer lunchtime. Worryingly, I’ve got loads of company. Experts chalk it up to a break in circadian rhythms and the like. That’s probably scientese for ‘going through a rough patch’.
Earlier, the bike to and from university used to clear the mind-fog. Nowadays, with screens sewn to our hips, there’s no escaping it. Square-eyed and steel-necked, we swipe from lecture to phone call to cat film. Add the daily dose of media fearmongering, and you’ve quickly reached the point of mental saturation.
Bizarrely though, everyone in a position to fix it is in the same boat, with their hands tied. I can’t see how pointing fingers and impassioned polemics denouncing others gets us any further. A tried and tested method from the beginning has been cool-headed dialogue. Sharing stories with others has already gone a long way in bringing about change, at the RUG and beyond.
It took me months to accept that things weren’t hunky dory
We needn’t sit pretty with the status quo either. 19th-century millworkers knew a thing or two when they refused to be ‘enslaved’ by a machine. Well, perhaps smashing my PC to smithereens isn’t particularly reasonable, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to shake things up a bit.
It took me months to accept that things weren’t hunky-dory, and that I couldn’t go on pretending like they were. Simply soldiering on, just for the sake of it, started to look increasingly pointless. Carving out time for rest and fellowship, however, paid back multifold.
This week is Silent Week, and it’s as good a time as any to do things differently. It lies at the heart of the Christian faith, and at the centre of Western thought. There’s all the sanction you need to step back, recalibrate and weigh the weightier things.
I can’t tell you how many we are, but I presume we’re growing. We might just have to stick in there for a while, but it needn’t be run-of-the-mill anymore. Besides, it’s lovely out.