While social media is filled with memes about how much people hate quarantine, I would like to take an opposing standpoint – “I love quarantine”. I can already imagine most of you staring at this sentence with gawking eyes. I am not an introvert who simply likes to stay home and interact with fewer people, I am extroverted and I love to interact, I miss being outside too. However, quarantine has helped me build on new skills which I never thought I would explore in my life.
Being someone who wasn’t very organized in life, the monotony of quarantine has made me become more attentive and organized. I think the secret to enjoying quarantine lies in creating lists of what is important to you. I always wanted to learn cooking and baking but I never had the time. I created a list at the start of lockdown 2.0 with 40 dishes I wanted to learn. Voila! I completed my list in 40 days and acquired a new skill in cooking. I am now following the list-making strategy for other skills like online courses and the books I want to read. It does help because it creates a sort of compulsion in my head after it’s written, and signals to my brain that it needs to be done.
Meeting people requires us as humans to assert our identity. Being 21, I’m someone who isn’t very sure of her identity – right-wing or left-wing, feminist or patriarchal, pro-Trump or not, political or apolitical, BJP or Congress, and I keep trying to understand myself and assert myself better. Quarantine has simply given an overthinker like me, time to be myself in my safe space without feeling the constant need to know everything. My limited interactions with people, lead to less overthinking because I do not constantly need to express my identity and say things in accordance with the values of my identity. In many ways, quarantine has given me the time to heal, by focusing on self-development and skill enhancement.
Since there isn’t a lot happening in this world right now, I don’t feel like there is an expectation on me, or that I have to match a particular standard of the way things are supposed to be in my life. I am happy with how things are. Before the lockdown, I checked my social media handles much more, often anxious about what I was missing out on, and wondering what I could be doing rather than focusing on what I was doing.
Now, as I scroll through social media, most of the ads are irrelevant because all the shops except essentials are closed, most of the Instagram stories are related to people cooking or spending time at home, and are monotonous after a point. Hence, social media is not a source of anxiety for me anymore. I see myself noticing and appreciating the little things I have in my house more than before, as I crave less and less. I feel like I have entered a state of limbo, even with everything bad going around, because I can expect something bad on the news as soon as I start it, it doesn’t surprise me anymore. I feel like a good news story would throw me off now and would get my world upside down more than any bad news story – which is sad, but having low expectations is sometimes the key to a better life.
There is a cycle of good and healthy affirmations, which keeps my clock ticking, which now generates validation from within and not from outside sources. I can say the healthy cycle of affirmations started when I created lists, as it gave me an aim, and made me feel more accomplished as my aim was getting closer everyday. Even if we are in quarantine, life is what you make of it. When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade out of it. Quarantine may be a huge lemon life has thrown on us, but there is so much you can get out of it! As I said before: “The key lies in making lists, have you made yours yet?”