Sitting in my latest reading nook—the corner of our living room couch— I am recognizing a change within myself: I have grown to like quarantine. The immediate irritations of quarantine, the canceled plans, the social restrictions, and the pervasive uncertainty, have allowed a space for me to re-remember and re-discover my favorite pastimes in full depth. I have no fear of missing out and no invitations to go anywhere, so I can focus all my time and energy on my body, mind, and family. With no commute to and from meetings, friends, and locations, I have spent two months free of the stresses of driving, and, frankly, of traveling. And with less stress and distraction, I have naturally grown more focused, calm, and present-minded.
The Beginning: Resistance
It was not a steady trajectory to this point. I fought quarantine hard, in my mind and in my actions, for a good while. But once I came to accept this sentence, I worked to spend my time more “meaningfully”. I enrolled in online classes, drafted mock-schedules, and set goals; I put my phone away, turned off the Netflix, and opened my academic books. However, this did not feel energizing and enjoyable, as my work typically feels. It was drudgerous to do my online course, I did not follow the intended schedule, and my goals were overly-ambitious. Instead, I found myself waking up at a steady 7 am, sitting down to meditate, and making a leisurely breakfast with my family. My academic books lay closed in the study, but historical fiction and fantasy novels found their way into my hand as I settled into the living room couch. Morning waxed and waned in this spot as the pages seemingly turned themselves.
When I Shifted
I cannot tell you the time frame of my “quarantine evolution”, time has changed meaning for me and each hour seems to blend into the next hour, day, and week. Perhaps it has been a month in my newfound state, maybe it has been less. But I recognized this week how genuinely peaceful I feel; and how this feeling was something I was chasing for years. It is a feeling I experienced episodically as a teenager, a potion of necessary factors that come together to create a balanced state of mind and a natural flow of activities. While I am not doing what I initially intended to do, I feel like I am doing exactly what I need to be doing at this moment, and enjoying it fully.
Quarantine: An Elixir of Rest
I am exercising more, repairing old injuries and progressing my fitness for the first time in years. I am reading for pleasure, sheer pleasure, and paying no mind to “structured learning”. I am making homemade meals and spending time with family. And I am consistently entering a state-of-mind that I feel content to occupy. I feel like I have found my formula for tranquility. And as the world revs up and we are slowly allowed back into society, I am reluctant to return to my old ways. In fact, I genuinely hope I do not “return” to a past way of being, and instead carry on with this more tranquil way of living into my future. Quarantine was a medicine I did not want to take, but it has become an elixir of rest that I had forgotten how to brew.