By Elsa Buehler
The quarantine has taught me many things about myself.
1.) No matter how many alarms I set for seven a.m., no matter how far I place my phone away from my bed, and no matter how late or early I go to bed, I will not begin my day until nine a.m. on the dot.
2.) Despite moving dramatically less each day (we’re talking as low as 200 steps per day as opposed to my normal 8,000+), I sleep as much as (if not more than) ever.
3.) As a film lover faced with absurd amounts of time, I have yet to watch a single movie on my watch list, instead reverting to movies I’ve seen dozens of times, including Bridget Jones’ Diary, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Ocean’s Eleven, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and so on.
Clearly, I’m a creature of habit, and extremely predictable.
However, in an effort to report good news, as many publications are attempting to do, I can’t help but think of the good that’s come from my quarantine so far. I’ve picked up The Call of the Wild. I’ve started a compost center at my house. I’m joining a Dungeons & Dragons campaign for the first time in my life. I spend more time communicating with my loved ones and family members. I’m learning to expand my cooking skills. I’m getting a heck of a lot of time in with my beautiful dogs. I even went for a run outside! (Admittedly, that was a mistake that I won’t repeat).
I’m choosing to use this time to work on the things I’ve always said that I would “if I had the time,” and I’m learning which of those things I actually was serious about. (Now if I could only work on my school assignments at a reasonable pace and hour…). I would never argue that this should be a time of extreme productivity for everyone, just as I am generally against philosophies that value numbered accomplishments over a person’s quality of life. If anything, this period resembles a time of grieving. If all you want to do is watch TV and rest, I think that’s noble enough, and if all you can do is keep up with remote work and do very little else, I view that as a non-issue! I urge you to take care of yourself. I simply want to embrace flexibility and open-mindedness when I can in my own life.
I hope to figure out some kind of a routine soon, less for productivity reasons and more for my own sanity. I can’t help but think that this situation provides me with a really unique opportunity: a space of time and freedom, the likes of which that I may never have again as a young person. Despite the chaos, I’m pleased with the amount of normalcy the internet has allowed me to retain in completing my internship. My supervisor has been generous with deadlines and helpful with teaching new skills. We’ve had conversations over Zoom that have also helped normalize and contextualize this strange situation. Overall, I’m grateful. I have space in my home conducive to work. I have technology that is compatible with the required programs and software for my internship and online courses, as well as reliable internet. Best of all: I live in a time that allows for any of this to even be possible.
To the next few weeks: who knows what they will bring us? I wish you all my best, from the comfort of my couch and the bottom of my heart.