In just a few days, I will have been in almost full lockdown for five months. It doesn’t feel real when I think about it, because my life has changed so dramatically in that time, but while there was a period of adjustment, I have, for the most part, grown accustomed to this new way of life.
On work days, I get up at the same time, more or less, that I used to, except now instead of scrambling to get out the door and onto the bus in time, I (try to) go for a walk or a jog with my fiance, come back to the house to shower, and then I settle in to do my writing for the day. Usually I have about an hour to write before I have to go upstairs to start my day working from home.
Then I work the same hours, take the same lunch break, and do the same job that I’ve been doing for the past two years.In many ways, my daily life is similar now to what it was back at the beginning of March. But, larger scale issues aside for the moment, quarantine, for lack of a better word, has affected me in countless ways, some of which I wouldn’t have ever guessed would matter to me.
These are a few of the things I’ve learned about myself and my life since I started to work from home, and stopped going out for anything other than necessity, in March:
1. It takes a few weeks to adjust to a major change in the format of your life (assuming that all your needs are still getting met), but once you make the adjustment, it feels just as natural as life felt before. At the start of quarantine, I struggled a lot to adjust during those first few weeks. I felt a little wild, being stuck inside my house, and I had a newfound sympathy for people of the past who had to spend all winter trapped inside with the same handful of people all the time. But after three or four weeks, I realized that something had changed for me. Life spent almost exclusively in my house had become my new normal, and I was so accustomed to it that I knew the adjustment back, whenever it had to happen, was going to be just as tough as my initial adjustment to living in lockdown had been.
2. Wearing bras is truly unbearable. I can count on my hands the number of times I’ve worn a bra in the last five months, because I really only do it for going to the grocery store. Those things are truly a nightmare, and I was already wearing the comfy kind!
3. The ability to travel is, of course, a privilege, but these last few months have taught me how much of a gift it truly is. I wasn’t set to do much traveling this year, a couple of local-to-New-England trips and also my honeymoon to Venice, but something about being in my house all day every day has made me appreciate all over again the value of the travel I have been able to do in my life, and how fortunate I was to be able to do it. I have always been a person who wants to travel a lot, but I think that, once it’s safe and possible again, it’s going to be a much bigger priority to me post-COVID than it was in the before times.
4. My greatest joy and fulfillment and escape that I can create for myself is through writing. Obviously I’ve always known that writing is important to me, that’s hardly a revelation. But while so many things have helped me through quarantine (my family and friends and fiance, video chatting, podcasts, reading books, the list could truly go on forever), the biggest salvation I have had from being trapped in my own head has actually been my own writing. It brings me happiness and purpose and entertainment and creative fulfillment, no matter what else is going on around me. Which brings me to the biggest thing I’ve learned about my own life since all of this started.
5. I can just do the things I love. I can just write, for no one but myself, if that’s what I want to do. I can just write a new story idea that I just came up with, if that’s what I want to do. Is it good to strive to grow and learn and get better at my craft? Of course it is. But at least of equal value is that the work be fun, as much as possible. Because you never what could happen tomorrow or next week or next month. You never know how long you’re doing to be stuck in the house feeling like you’re just watching everything fall apart. So do what you love purely for the love of it. It could easily be the brightest spot in your day.
2 thoughts on “5 Things I’ve Learned (about myself) in Quarantine”
I’ve been thinking a lot about the transition back to in-person working eventually, and it seriously stresses me out so much. Both because everything about the pandemic stresses me out, and with the way the US is, we’re probably going to go back long before it’s safe to do so; but also because I really, really enjoy working from home. I like getting to wear jeans every day, to randomly flop on top of my cats whenever I want to, to easily be able to make tea and grab a new book and have the luxury of making food fresh instead of heating it up in a microwave. Everything about working from home appeals to me, and the transition to going back to work is going to be as difficult, if not worse, than the transition to working from home, I think.
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There is so much I love about working from home! The comfort and the freedom mostly. I see far fewer people this way, though, which is nice because I’m an introvert, but probably not the best for my mental health. It’s not great for my physical health either, because I get much less activity as I’m not walking around as much, and I used to use the fitness center at my office for exercise, and not having that as been rough. So there will be things I’ll be glad to go back to, but it’s definitely going to be really hard for me too. I feel you. I hope you’re able to stick with working from home for as long as possible!
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