At this time, we are all either abiding by strict social distancing or submitting ourselves to a self-quarantine. What this means is that life is now different, we were used to going out for lunch, hanging with friends on the weekend, going to work, and now most of those things and anything else you can think of has gone away. The result of this is that life seems to be slowing down during these social distancing times. Days are feeling longer, I feel like I’m getting more done, and I’m definitely getting more sleep. But what does all of this mean?
The world is seemingly on fire for a lot of people right now. Out of work, scared about their health and their family’s health, scared about supplies, scared about paying bills, frustrated with how certain parts of the world are reacting to this crisis. And I feel for all those people, and I’m sure for them the world may not feel as if it’s slowing down in a good way, but that’s just our reality right now. So while we’re all hoping for the best when we come out on the other side of this, we just have to try to hunker down and see whatever positives this situation has to offer.
What Slowing Down During Social Distancing Can Mean
If you are in a situation where were are at least semi-prepared to brace for the impact of this quarantine, then I think they’re a lot of virtues this time can provide us with. Since social distancing started, we’ve slowly had to cope with the world around us, systematically shutting down. But now that full-on quarantine is in effect, the weight of solitude is setting in, and how you handle it is entirely on you.
I’ve heard this time of social distancing compared to a reset button, and everyone who is partaking can take a step back and wash some of the stress from real life out of their minds. And again, some people are still working hard in crucial fields, but I am not, and a reset is what I’m feeling. As I said, I’m getting more hours of sleep, and this is something I never thought was possible, but feeling refreshed most mornings is something I welcome with open arms.
I attribute this increase in sleep time to having so much free time coming from other places. I live in Florida, and all of the locations I frequent are not close to my house. Thirty minutes to work, and 45 minutes back, 35 minutes to my favorite coffee shops or lunch spots, 20 minutes to the gas station and back. I always realize that such a large chunk of my life is spent in a car. And since social distancing started, I realize how much of a time suck that really is. And while I would do anything to have the ability to go write at my favorite coffee shop again, I’m appreciating the lack of driving as a good jumping-off point for slowing down during social distancing.
Slowing down during this time also means that you can realize how much you neglect when it comes to your house. For some people, that might mean doing a bit of handy work, fixing a bum light switch, cleaning out the garage, and those are all noble tasks. For me, it’s not a new realization, but I’m faced with how much trouble my room is in for more hours a day, which has caused me to take action. What this entails is clearing my closet of clothes I don’t wear, getting rid of old mail that’s just piled up on my desk, cleaning out the drawer on the nightstand next to my bed, nothing too serious, just things I now have the time to do when I’m not using my room only as a place to sleep.
This is going to sound obvious, but this time of social distancing is allowing us to be alone and focus on what we need to do. I write a lot, and this is something that tends to work better when I lock myself away and go into some sort of zone. But in ordinary life it’s easy to slack off and hang out with your friends, or watch movies, basically indulge in things that are not work. But now, with a lot of those options for distraction having disappeared, there’s not much else to do besides lock myself away and focus on writing, which I am super grateful for. There’s no more feeling bad blowing people off so I can lock myself away in my room.
The last thing that a lot of other people are taking notice of is the time we can spend with our families. With everyone in your household having their lives slowed down, you can now notice how much time you spend apart, and the joys that come with family bonding. Some of us even had our schools cut short or had to flee from high-risk areas, and we’re getting a trip back home and a nice family visit that hopefully can only be seen as a positive at this time.
Speeding Back Up
Now while what we are going through is definitely scary and is sure to be giving a large number of people a difficult time, I think we are all remaining hopeful that this will end sooner than later and that we all make it through in one piece. And if the world doesn’t end and this return to normalcy does happen, then this time of a near shutdown society will fade away. This is a good thing, but I think part of me will always be fond of the month or two I got to spend inside working from home, eating two frozen pizza’s a day, being hyper-productive. And while I can’t wait to eavesdrop on people’s conversations again, every day, I remind myself that this time is providing a great opportunity to experience a slowed down form of life, and I’m trying to take advantage of it.