Time spent in quarantine feels nonsensical.
Time lost its meaning somewhere between the obliteration of routine and the monotony of our environment. Trapped at home, we find ourselves not a slave to our schedules, but to our impulses. With that, my worst and best qualities show themselves in full force. I idle in my time by putting off projects, lounging around, and scrolling through my social media. I call my friends, cook wonderful food, and walk for hours. The habits I have always had and the tendencies I am prone to coexist at full volume. And, to a certain extent, I believe I should let these habits run their course. I think I should give into my tendencies and follow my impulses. Why torture myself to perfect my habits when there is so much time to be spent?
That is the trap I have fallen into because I believe that my time is free-flowing and abundant. I think that because my grand plans were canceled and my goals deferred, I now have a void, a space of nothing, that can be filled with just that: nothing. But as March turned to April, and April turns to May, I realized that this could not be farther than the truth.
2020 will likely be enveloped in waves of quarantine, which means that a year of our lives will be living with our best and worst habits in an environment that reinforces both. And a year, 12 months, or 356 days living filling our time with nothing will then define our 2021—because how we spend our days and weeks shapes the habits and person that we carry into 2021, and beyond.
In this sense, time has regained its value in quarantine because it is now singularly defined by the day, the hours, and the minutes rather than projected into the future. Quarantine is shedding a light on our best and worst selves, and making this image impossible to escape.
I am a future-based person, and I love to plan, project, and organize my life based on some grandiose future events. But I am realizing now, more than ever, that I cannot live my 2020 like this, I cannot project my happiness and promise into the future. I cannot defer my goals and reformation or wait for a new environment to change me. I have to change myself by utilizing my days and my present because this is all I have.
Perhaps the day is all any of us have ever had, we have simply deluded ourselves into believing in the stability of the future and the promise of tomorrow. Tomorrow, as we have learned, can be canceled.
But today has already arrived. It only asks that you use it.