As an introvert who already works from home, not going anywhere for weeks at a time because of self isolation can get old.
You realize how much you rely upon those brief interactions and conversations with people when you’re out and about. I’m lucky that I have my wonderful dog with me, as he is the goodest boy ever and makes me smile amidst all of this chaos. But for someone who loved solitary living as much as I did, the silence and endless days can grate on even the most steadfast soul. I think I’ve reached the end of my lone loving landscape. I miss people. I miss travel. I miss having coffee dates with my mom and sister.
I started social distancing earlier than most, moving around my schedule and avoiding certain places as early as February. My gut was yelling at me, a five alarm intuition that was telling me be prepared NOW. So I did. And I don’t regret it, but I am starting to feel the weight of being by myself, as I’m certain so many out there can relate to.
Of course, as it always happens during these situations there emerges a barrage of know it alls telling you how to embody your experience at this time.
No one should be telling you how to feel during any of this. Full stop. This is unprecedented. If you want to go and write the next best novel, then go do that. If you want to achieve enlightenment or do all the yoga, then do that. If you want to play video games and eat a bowl of ice cream, then do that too. Maybe do all of it, if you want. But if you don’t do any of it, that’s ok too.
In the days that have passed under this darkness that hangs over us, there’s become this idea that if we’re not accomplishing something meanful or life altering during our incarceration then we’re doing it wrong. Who makes the rules? Did I miss some kind of Pandemic Playbook that illustrates how to win at self isolation? I’m pretty sure I’ve been around, so one would think I would have been notified.
Enough with the pressure and expectations. I think we have enough going on without having to deal with that too. Lumping guilt for not “doing anything” just heaps more emotional garbage on top of people already dealing with the heavy burden we all find ourselves carrying. We’re all trying to figure out how to navigate this new and ever changing landscape. Follow your own lead. What do you need? Where are you flowing today? How about give yourself permission to move into what you want to do slowly? And let what you can do today be enough.
When we have come out of this mess if you haven’t mastered making sourdough bread, wrote the next big novel or shredded that last 15, IT WILL BE FINE. I for one will not judge you because you spent your solitary time reading, watching tv or trying to deal with a very messed up situation that we find ourselves in globally. Everyone copes differently and I will not judge you for the way you do.
It’s natural to worry. It is natural to be scared.
These are uncertain times. We travel a lonely road for much of this pandemic. We will get through it somehow, but for now it can be really hard to embody this existence. I’m not going to sugar coat it with some banal platitudes, because honestly I’m tired of hearing them myself. We’re stuck at home, staring out the window and wondering what the hell is going to happen as the rules change from day to day. As human beings who try to make sense of our surroundings, this one can leave us stumped to the marrow of our bones as we face a constantly changing landscape.
I’m not going to tell you to go be creative or accomplish some great thing. Make a routine that supports you. Accomplish what you need to feed your soul. If that’s wearing your jammies, eating cereal and watching cartoons, by all means do it. Because we are in the midst of something that is very draining on the body, heart, mind and soul. So find the things that make you smile for a little while and do that. Or don’t. That’s fine too.