The Lessons of Quarantine

I had a long talk with an old friend of mine this morning. I needed some advice, and I needed perspective. I have reconnected with a lot of friends during the quarantine that are not in my usual sphere of influence. We have long been friends, but once the world shut down, we had more time to chat and make time for each other. In fact I think I’ve spent more time talking to friends who have long ago disappeared from my daily life than the ones who are currently in it. It’s a pleasant change.

It’s not the only change in my life. In fact, my life is almost unrecognizable from the one I lived in March. I have a television. I communicate more through video chat than I do text. I go to the grocery more than I go anywhere else. My kitchen is often scented with fresh-baked bread and pastries which have long been off the menu. My checking account has a balance at the end of the month. And I learned to cut and color my own hair.

My company asked us to take unpaid furloughs in April and May, and I opted to take my two weeks together. We couldn’t do any work or talk about work with anyone. The first week I sort of numbed out with TV and baking. I took some online baking classes and birthed a sourdough starter. I started running again and worked out with Jessica in Tulsa via Facebook Live. By the second week, I had really started to relax. I noted how different I felt when the stress of work evaporated. “I could get used to this,” I told myself and then quickly said “I don’t mean it” just in case the Universe was listening. But I liked this slower pace of life. I realized how much money I spend on things that I truly don’t need. I fell in love with my home.

Almost everyone I know whispers secretly, “I’ve actually liked my time in quarantine.” There is a lot of pain and hardship going on around us that we must honor. It’s a bit insensitive to say we’ve enjoyed it. But many of us have. It has forced us to slow down and evaluate what is important. I don’t know if I want my life to go back the way it was before quarantine. I’d like to keep the bread-baking ritual, the extra money at the end of the month and my expanded schedule. The perspective that the downtime brought me is definitely worth keeping. And maybe pants really aren’t necessary for happiness. I’m going to have to buy new ones anyway.

What did you learn in quarantine? Is there anything you’d like to keep?

14 Comments on “The Lessons of Quarantine

  1. Great writing! Pants are overrated anyway! Looks like we have 3 more weeks of “no pants” days due to the extended stay at home order! Miss you and your hair looks great!

  2. I couldn’t agree more! While I still work through it. I find I center more when not at work than pre covid. Sure do cook more!

  3. Love this post… I’ve been wondering if most of America would just go back to the way things were pre-covid. After reading this, maybe positive lasting change is on the table after all.

  4. A friend I rode bikes with yesterday referred to the two of us as Pandemic Appreciators – which sounded odd, except that he and I had discussed that we were fine with the pace of life in quarantine, which seems callous and dismissive of people who have serious problems paying their bills, obtaining medical treatment, finding food, and other necessities. We both realize that we have the luxury of a slower schedule, the luxury of – shall I say it? Boredom. I recognize the pain of so many – especially those who are sick and have lost loved ones. But, if I’m honest, it suits me well.

  5. The baking looks good.
    I guess I’ve discovered how much I rely on routine.
    It makes me wonder how I can possibly retire and not even work from home.

    • Me too! I actually just accepted a retirement package. I’m looking for my next gig. I’m noodling hanging out my own shingle but I’m not sure if it’s the thing for me.

  6. My day-to-day life hasn’t changed much at all – still going in to work and all that. So grateful to have the paycheck, but I do have to admit I’d be curious to try on a relaxed schedule and see how it felt. Sounds like changes are coming in your work life – curious to see how that all plays out!

    • Well thanks for getting out and doing what you normally do. There are big changes coming up for me. I’ll announce at some point. I’m ready although change is always scary. But, hey, I’ve managed change before! I’ll do it again. I plan a drive across the country and Seattle is on my list. Maybe we’ll finally meet.

  7. I was seriously wondering if others out there were liking the quarantine time as much as it was? I work 1/2 day so still getting a paycheck but then to come home and have free time…I LOVE that!!

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