Note: this is a written assignment for a college course. Featured image provided by Getty Images, photo by Andrea Verdelli
For better or worse, one word can properly encapsulate the insanity of 2020: change. From a global front, the daily rhythm of our everyday lives have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, colloquially known as the coronavirus. The term “social distancing” has become a lifestyle trait for all of us, wearing protective masks is no longer seen as odd or a sign of paranoia, and perhaps more significantly, curbside pickup has become the new norm for our dietary needs.
Before the pandemic really took full force, I was what you could call a reluctant errand runner. I liked staying at home as much as possible, though I recognized the benefits of going to a gym or going to a library can bring. Going to the movies on a regular basis was also a pastime of mine (my wallet would agree). The moviegoing experience has always been the one part of my weekly routine that my introverted, homebody self would gladly make an exception for. I also enjoyed frequenting the mellow, laid back calm that coffee shops offer, a place where I would get most of my schoolwork done.
The last near three months have been quite the monkey wrench. I would never consider myself to be a gym guru, but the gym environment was always a welcome one, always reinvigorating my often-tired self without fail. Now that my gym has closed indefinitely, I have made home workouts a fill in for the weight room, and my neighborhood jogging trail taking the place of a treadmill. It’s not optimal, but it’s better than nothing, and jogging outside gives me the sunlight and fresh air I didn’t know I deprived myself of.
With the closing of movie theaters and lack of new releases, I have finally gone and cleared my Netflix queue up. Though I miss the theater environment, quarantining has offered me the chance to watch the films that I missed and have been meaning to watch for quite a while. On top of that, reading has become a regular part of my day, having read more books during this time than the entirety of my high school and college experiences. I am currently reading the Song of Ice and Fire series because I want to see how Game of Thrones really ends. So far, so, so good.
The main takeaway I’ve gotten from quarantine is the importance of “alone time”. Our lives are consistently filled with noise and inconsequential pleasures that masquerade as essential. This time of my life has brought out the brutally honest existentialist in me, confronting me with the important self-evaluations that I noisily avoided in favor of hapless pursuits. Now those distractions have either outstayed their welcome or are physically closed, often leaving me to my own devices to self-improve. Silence can be intimidating, terrifying even, but it’s an essential element to be comfortable with one’s self, warts and all.