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The Last of Us and the importance of pause.

Drawing from a scene in the profound video game Last Of Us, what can we learn about the value of pause?


In the hustle and bustle of life, we are constantly in a rush to complete the next task, find the next new thing, meet the next person. Some of us might be driving towards a certain goal, while others may just be fending off the everyday struggles of life. Because of this, we tend to forget to pause and appreciate the little things, to reflect on what is important and maybe just pat ourselves on the shoulder for how far we’ve come. With the incoming restrictions forcing us to stay at home again, this is all the more important.

The Last of Us is an action-packed video game, and while we don’t live in a zombie-infested world, we definitely get caught up in the adrenaline as the story progresses. However, the peak of storytelling in this masterpiece was a moment where the two main characters, Joel and Ellie, finally get the chance to just…pause. Here are some reflections from that simple yet profound moment in the game.

Giving yourself a break

After days, weeks, even months of dealing with whatever life throws at you (metaphorical zombies, if you will), your body and mind will definitely feel some sort of fatigue, especially in the context of this pandemic. Usually, the adrenaline tides us through, but finding it hard to sleep, constant lethargy, slower responses point towards a need for more rest. Find that zombie-free moment for yourself to just let yourself rest for a bit. Even if you have a packed day, simply giving a couple minutes between each task will do wonders for your health and mental wellness.

Appreciating those around you

Just prior to this scene, Joel and Ellie had a bit of a disagreement, resulting in a cold war between them. However, after fighting through hordes of zombies and even humans, they finally get the chance to pause – which also gives them the chance to reflect. They have the time to talk, share their feelings, and came out of it with a deeper appreciation for each other.

Having moments of pause in your life can do the same for you too. When we find some quiet time, we get to recollect ourselves and take a step back to see the larger picture, which can include the people who have always been with you. Just knowing that there are people on your side (even the quiet ones!) can do wonders for your mind to be put at ease.

Gathering strength to move forward

“For an arrow to shoot ahead, it needs to be drawn back first”

We often associate taking a pause as “doing nothing” and hence being “unproductive”. However, let’s shift this perspective to recognise that we get to define our pauses, and that these moments enable us to continue where we’re headed. Think of it as benches by the jogging path, or a toilet break in the middle of a movie marathon, or a save point in a game! In Last of Us, this moment spent with greenery and the giraffes helped to relax their minds, ease their built-up tension, allowing the characters to gear up for the battle ahead.

Even in the midst of life-and-death situations that Joel and Ellie faced, the pause was necessary for their mental well-being and to keep fighting their battles. You can start shaping your pauses, start your self-care plan and find what works for you to clear the mind. Hopefully you can journey on with a healthy body and mind.

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