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April 19, 2020

How Quarantine Opened My Eyes and Changed My Life

Please note this is not to diminish the seriousness of COVID-19. It is merely an honest and personal view of making the most out of a difficult and unfamiliar situation. 

I won’t lie, at the beginning of this pandemic I pushed back against the idea of quarantining and “staying at home.” How dare anyone try to tell me when I can and can’t leave my home. I will also confide that I am a nurse, so it wasn’t even a matter of not understanding the reasoning. I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with dinner at a restaurant and savoring ice cream while walking through an outdoor mall, reading the signs on storefront doors announcing their temporary closures. I smirked to myself, “this is so silly.”

My privilege made me feel oppressed. I felt symptoms of anxiety and depression creeping in. The things that gave me joy were being taken away from me. Beaches closed, parks closed, gyms closed.

The pandemic worsened, deaths climbed, and states shut down. Now the choice was out of my hands. I worked from home prior to this pandemic so there was no change for me in that department. I struggled at the beginning with being home and feeling trapped. Working at home all day and having no reprieve. Some days I still struggle with feelings of suffocation, as I am literally only leaving the house once a week for groceries. My car sits idle in the driveway, moving only 15 miles or so a week now.

But over the past few weeks I have come to embrace being at home. Sure, I still have instances of missing my routine and absolutely can’t wait to see my friends and partake in brunch again. And being a crossfitter, I am going through withdrawals not being able to lift a barbell. (You know I had to mention it, those that do crossfit can’t not talk about it). But I must admit this time in isolation has given me a new perspective and may have even changed my life.

While I may not be able to use fancy gym equipment and suffer through brutal work outs with my gym family, I am enjoying more time outside. I bought a bike and am thoroughly enjoying riding around my town and neighborhood exploring little areas I’ve never seen before.

My family lives in a different state and our distance can feel even farther when we go weeks, sometimes even a month without conversing. We have started video chatting and it has been a highlight of my day seeing their faces and what is going on in their daily lives. Why did it take a pandemic to bring us closer?

Lastly, but most excitingly, I have recognized my passion for writing. I knew I enjoyed writing, but it was something I did only occasionally when I felt like I had something to write about. I have used this extra time to take courses and learn more about different types of writing and have set a goal for myself to become a freelance writer. Wow! It seems unreal to admit that out loud. But in my soul, I know that this is the path I need to be on, and it has lit a fire inside of me that I’m not sure I’ve ever felt before.

I know we’re all experiencing this time in different ways, but I hope we can all emerge a little bit different than we were before. No one says you must utilize this time to become more productive or tackle all the tasks you’ve been putting off. Maybe you’re barely making it day by day, and I feel you. Keep going. But I hope we aren’t living through a historic event and not allowing it to shape us for the better. The least we can do is become a little more grateful and a lot more kind.


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