It’s not about being able to build a fire or carry a heavy pack, it’s a general feeling of competence that gives you a sense of confidence. It can carry over into other parts of life. Having accomplished one hard task, you believe you can problem-solve and persist through other difficult situations as well.
Robinson says that a lot of the things surrounding the Pandemic are out of our control. It is not our choice to stay at home or not to go into the office. Homemaking tasks give you control and a sense of accomplishment.
Although they are more Little House on the Prairie than My Side of the Mountain, many of us are brushing up on our practical skills now faced with the challenge of a global Pandemic. Knitting a scarf provides a feeling of control and competence, even though it doesn’t directly relate to surviving a deadly virus. We can grow our own bread from flour, water, and yeast, even if we can’t guarantee that our parents will be safe, or that we won’t lose our jobs. Gaining control over that facet of our lives allows us to control the rest of our lives as well.
It makes sense that so many of us would want a more tangible outcome from our efforts when the only evidence we have is that nothing happens. John Hudson, chief survival instructor for the British military, says that a concrete feeling of accomplishment is something that many of us lacked before the novel coronaviruses emerged. Over the last decade, survival shows like Naked and Afraid have risen in popularity as our lives have become more virtual. Hudson believes that the appeal of living off the land is due to the instant gratification that comes with it.
It makes sense that so many of us would want a more tangible outcome from our efforts when our lives are so uncertain. He says that we never really see an immediate or even any tangible result of our efforts because we spend an enormous amount of our working hours indoors. If you complete a task, there is a definite reward in my world. You know if you succeeded or failed in building shelter or lighting a fire immediately.
It may be out of boredom, but when we are anxious and can cook, that is an effort-based reward. You have this wonderful reward at the end of it, something that is tangible, something you can see, something you can share with your family.
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