The joys of social distancing 

A few days ago, I was texting with a friend and our conversation went something like this: 

Friend: I can’t stand this whole social distancing and quarantine thing for much longer 

Me: Haha ikr 

Friend: I’m going crazy 

Me: It’s okay it will be over soon 

Can you hear the nervous laughter in my voice? As you might be able to tell, I couldn’t fully agree with my friend that social distancing is all that miserable. I seem to be among the few enjoying all of this free time. 

The COVID-19 pandemic shocked the world. No one saw it coming and no one could have predicted living through a reality that resembles a sci-fi movie. What was once “normal” will likely never return because of this outbreak. 

But if I’m being honest, quarantine has provided me with a lot of relief and freedom from the things that were stressing me out and making me feel left behind.

We’ve all watched in pain as our plans for the rest of spring, and even summer, have been cancelled: trips for spring break, concerts, birthday parties, sports, competitions, college visits, graduation, prom, you name it. 

That aspect of this situation is disappointing and sad but of course nothing can be done about it because thousands of lives are at stake. Staying home is our civic duty to contain the spread of Covid-19 and since it’s something we have to do, I’m trying to make the most of it. After all, it’s not every day that it’s actually applauded to stay home. 

But if I’m being honest, quarantine has provided me with a lot of relief and freedom from the things that were stressing me out and making me feel left behind. 

Obviously, the amount of work I have to do for school and extracurricular activities has decreased and I’m done with most schoolwork by the time school ends at 3 o’clock, instead of having to do hours of homework after school ends.

That gives me time to explore things that I’ve always wanted to do but never had the time. I’m taking better care of my body by exercising, eating healthier, and drinking more water. I’m painting and learning new songs on the piano. And, I have moved every single piece of furniture in my room to a different place because the process of organizing my room seems to be perpetual. 

I guess I should mention that I am also an introvert so the amount of energy that being quarantined is giving me is astronomical.

Being stuck at home with hours of free time, however, has emphasized how my approach to so many things was just wrong. I don’t know how I was functioning with the amount of pressure I was putting on myself.

Instead of just doing my school work and getting it over with, I would procrastinate as soon as I got home, leaving the majority of my work for late at night after I got home from dance class and just wanted to go to bed. 

This cycle of making things harder for myself had bled into all areas of my life. 

A common phrase attributed to Zen Buddhism states, “How you do anything is how you do everything.” 

So, however you choose to tackle any kind of obstacle in your life is how you tackle all other obstacles in your life. With quarantine, I’m finally starting to focus my energy towards a life that’s more meaningful and productive. 

It’s not ideal that it took a global pandemic to make me realize that I needed to change my habits but I’m glad that it happened regardless. 

Everything that happens in life helps us learn. The biggest lesson I’ve taken from quarantine is that I have control over how I want my life to unfold.