And there’s no better time than quarantine to write, so they say. Well, I’d like to say hello from the apocalypse. It’s been many months of waking up to the same day, over and over – many months of wearing the same sweatpants and not leaving the house. It’s been many months of taking the same jogging path every day, only to have worn down trails in both the neighborhood and the mind that have become as weathered and familiar as an old hiking boot.
I’m sure we’d all say that it’s been hard to live a life that feels like it’s progressing in any way. Our relationships seem to have been put on pause (except for the video chats and phone calls here and there), and the multitudes of text messages that flood our phones. Life feels surreal.
When 2020 began, I was absolutely certain that this was going to be the best year of our lives. Everything was taking off in such a way for me (and others in my life) that I was convinced 2020 was going to be the year we bloomed. I was indisputably happy and excited about almost every aspect of my life – and for the first time in a while, I felt my life gain an extremely promising momentum. Then, all of a sudden, 2020 came to a rapid, grinding halt. Everything around us shut down – stores, restaurants, salons – everything. In addition to that, I felt all the progress I had made come to a screeching halt. Friendships, relationships, plans, jobs, progress – all of these things got put on hold in favor of a (necessary) order to stay at home.
At first I was devastated. I fought denial and grief for months. I couldn’t stop thinking about the life I had left behind. I thought about the people I saw, the things I did and the places I went just before our cities locked down. I craved life as it once was; together, close, and carefree. I missed live music, dinners and yoga with friends, dinners at my place and wandering through my neighborhood to buy books. I missed being able to see my friends in New York. I missed New York as it was – vast, crowded, formidable, and a city where you’d bump shoulders with multitudes of strangers on your way to grab pizza with friends in Park Slope.
The world as we knew it is sadly, gone. It still upsets me sometimes. Most days, I deal with the way things are, telling myself that “it is what it is.” There’s no use trying to fight something we can’t change. All we can do is adapt. As they say, “what you resist, persists.” In this particular instance, resistance causes mental pain. I used to look for silver linings, but the thing is, I’m learning that you don’t need to force yourself to find that. This isn’t to say we should adopt mindsets about the situation being hopeless and bleak – rather, we can take a more pragmatic approach to viewing it. We can find what we can do to make it more bearable, while looking for the small bits of joy and activity we can appreciate right now. At other times, we can be gentle with ourselves and show understanding for our own sadness, grief, and loneliness.
It’s been quite a year already, and in many ways it feels like the months have gone down a drain. I’m still trying to learn what progress can be made, and for me, this comes in the form of exercise, playing music when I can, reading when I can, and taking care of my health as best as I can.
I hope one day I can look back on this piece and consider the age of quarantine and lockdown a long-gone, faraway place. A place where we exercised patience, where we learned how resilient human beings can really be, and where we learned that relationships really are everything.
Until then, I’ll be writing more in this blog, because there’s definitely a lot of time.