For close to 4 months in 2020, people all over the world were asked to stay indoors, follow precautionary measures, and social distancing, all to avoid contracting Covid-19. These people were tested with a situation like none other. They no longer had the option to refuse plans or turn down party invitations. The only option was to remain at home and remain hopeful.
For these 3 months, people grappled with the idea of being surrounded by 4 walls throughout their days, weeks, and months. It was difficult, but it was necessary. Regardless of all the pain and distress quarantine put us through, I suggest we take a moment to review what it has given us.
People started to experience hair growth as they hadn’t before. We could no longer run to barber shops on our monthly date or if we were dealing with a life-altering incident, making us desperate to change our external appearances in the hope that our internal sentiments would change as well. We didn’t have the option, so we dealt with it. And we found out… that we liked it. It’s funny how hair is no longer a problem when you have so much else to deal with.
People started to cook their own meals. Food delivery had stalled for a while, and we were forced to cook for ourselves to survive. Even instant-noodles and stale bread could be classified as such because they still brought out traits of the home chef. Before quarantine, with the number of options for food delivery at our disposal, some of us never even considered cooking an option. But now we started doing what mothers and health blogs have been telling us all along. And we didn’t hate it.
People started to communicate. It no longer made sense to bottle up thoughts or emotions and hide from people we were sharing a roof with, so we began to confront. In both personal and professional circles, we were given the blessing of time and attention, as no one could lie claiming that they missed seeing our emails or messages. We started to communicate, even with ourselves, and realized how much better it makes things.
People learnt gratitude, even if they didn’t realize it. Every social media post that read ‘Take me back’ or ‘I miss-‘ was only a reminder of something great that happened pre-quarantine. We reminisced the good parts of our previous life, which is nothing but gratitude, instilling in us the realization that our life, in fact, hadn’t been as bad as we’d previously thought. We were grateful for what we once had the opportunity to live through and were hopeful that we’d be able to experience it all again.
People experienced stillness, perhaps for the first time. For those of us who casually hurtle ourselves across time and space to get from business meetings to parent-teacher conferences, and never have the chance to slow down or hit pause, quarantine was probably a blessing. We extended our showers and naps, even just by a little bit, to savour the stillness of the world outside and the world within. We admitted that we should make regular attempts to feel the same way post-quarantine as well.
With everything that it has taken from us and given us, quarantine was forced upon us, not chosen. But imagine if we chose these things every day, imagine if we realized how much we were getting from each day instead of focusing on the negatives, or what was going wrong in our lives. Perhaps this was a sign telling us to be more observant, more aware, and more grateful. I’ve just found something unusually large to be grateful for.