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?