Life in lockdown sucks. But, it leads me to be a better me.
I’m not a writer, blogger, or influencer if I even count as one. I’m just a 26 years old recent graduate who happens to be stuck in New York during the pandemic. First of all, I’m writing this just so I can tell my future self “Hey, you’ve been through this. You know, you’ve lived in history.” Yeah, that will make me feel good.
I can’t tell how people are experiencing the pandemic. But, I’m grateful that I’m still here, enjoying the best I can experience.
It’s not a diary, journal, or a blog to inspire people. It’s purely about marking my existence during the pandemic. So whenever I look back, I can tell my own story.
So, how the pandemic has taught me?
I Won’t Be the Same Person as I was Yesterday
Clearly, I will always remember to wash my hands while singing happy birthday twice, I will wipe my phone with alcohol whenever I get home, I will be more considerate using toilet papers, I might be dodging people while walking on the streets for the next couple months. No, I’m not joking. These might seem small things, but I certainly am never going to see things the same way again.
Who would have thought I’d miss riding the New York subway? Never came in mind that I liked riding the subway. You know, it’s smelly and packed in the daytime and creepy at night. Surprisingly, I can’t describe how much I miss all the experiences. Isn’t it fun to be lost in your own thoughts while seeing so many different types of people doing whatever they are doing on the subway? All those facial expressions that could simply make me smile, will no longer be seen since everyone is wearing a face mask. Now it’s like we’re in our own bubble.
Be in my own bubble has taught me how much I should value myself. Now that I can’t lie to myself that I don’t have time, I spend a lot of time exploring what really matters to me. I like to do a lot of things, and I think I gained a lot of new skills during this time in isolation: I make hot drinks, cook new random foods, start to be a content creator on TikTok (ok, just kidding), be a Just Dance pro (not really, but I like to reward myself like that), do yoga (I had never done yoga in my life before), learn to skateboard again, increase my photography skills, be my own DJ, learn AR, explore new tools for work, and try to write. Yes, these are a lot. And these might not be the most important thing to me and I might not pursue these career-wise. But, these what make me going as a person. And that’s what matters.
All these small things are what makes me myself. I have a lot of interests and none of these is my specialty, but I’m fine with that.
Life in the corona really taught me to shift how I see things, and myself.
Small Things Are Bigger Than What I Think They Are
Everyone is trying to keep sane during the quarantine and we all have different ways to do it. I like to set a mood for the day by binge-watching YouTube with a good breakfast in the morning, listening to new music during the day, and rewarding myself at the end of the day. These might seem so repetitive, but every day is not just a ‘blursday’, it’s a new day.
When I made “good enough” as an available option, I became happier than I was before. The world is going crazy, but there’s no reason to be angry. Reading news can be so intimidating and fearful at a time like this, but then I remember all the people behind it who work hard to deliver it to us. And I should appreciate that.
Appreciating small things that happen in a day can make a big difference in how I experience life in isolation.
I’m actually grateful for seeing my colleagues face on a video call, though I liked to hide in the office before this all happened. I’m grateful that I have a roommate who I can always talk to, though I preferred to be at a party. I’m grateful for the cooking skills I’ve gained, not to mention I’m basically just throwing stuff in a pan while cooking. So many things that I can’t be thankful enough for.
How frustrating a day can be, there’s always an option to celebrate little things. Make myself a good drink or watch Netflix after my cut off time is a joy to end the day.
Maybe after the life of corona, I’ll travel somewhere without any destination in mind, but for now, I’ll keep enjoying everything I do.
I Like My Homemade Coffee Better
I liked to explore different coffee shops in the city. The different kinds of smooth, rich scent of roasted beans really got me on an immersive journey while hopping into different shops. The different tastes and tons of choices of milk in a latte caught me how much I miss barista-made coffee. No, I would never go back to drink instant coffee.
Corona time forced me to be a barista in my own cafe at home. I started learning new recipes from a book, the internet, or just following my intuition. And oh, also that trending whipped coffee everyone was talking about.
My coffee might not beat the taste of a cup of coffee from a fancy coffee shop, but hell, who cares. I’m my own barista and only customer. I like to keep up my barista skill every time I make my own coffee. Since I’m also the only customer, I can be as creative as I want to be — mixing my coffee with different kinds of ingredients and ratios.
Now it’s not just about the taste, but also all the experience I’ve gained from making a homemade cup of coffee.
When it’s all over, I’ll probably visit coffee shops less frequently than before. Maybe just to buy the whole beans and make it at my own cafe at home.
There’s Nothing Too Stupid to Kill Time
Bored? Who’s not. We’ve got all the time. Too much time to kill makes me think about what I should really do. So many times I wanted to be productive and not wasting time. But aren’t we tired to keep working towards our goals?
Okay, define goals. The pandemic really keeps me from foreseeing what should I achieve in the long term, not even next month. I can only set goals for a day, a week maximum. But on the other side, these very short-term goals really boost my productivity.
Make my bed, check. Make breakfast and coffee, check. Choose a playlist on Spotify, check. Attend a meeting, check. Get shit done, check. Shut down my laptop after my cut off time, check. Exercise for 30 minutes, check. Make dinner, check. Watch Netflix, check. I feel like I accomplished more than ever.
How about social media? Yeah, that too. I can spend hours on TikTok now. Honestly, I felt guilty spending too much time on social media at first. But again, it depends on what I want to get out of it. I started joining the force creating those stupid videos on TikTok with that hashtag #boredinthehouse.
It’s stupid, it’s fun to make, and some people laugh. And that’s what really matters.
Everything I’ve done means something to me.
I Learned the Most Important Skill: How to Master Myself
I can no longer count how many times I say it sucks. But, it’s not really about what happens, it’s about how I react to it that matters.
“To make the best of what is in our power, and take the rest as it occurs.” — Epictetus
The craziness that’s happening in the world right now is an opportunity to be a better me than I was yesterday.
It could be from different kind of aspects. Not just learning new skills related to my job, but more about how to respond to life’s hardships. To choose positivity over hesitation. To choose calmness over anger. To choose kindness over selfishness.
I’m not sure how it’s going to be like when the pandemic ends. But my hope is that not just me, but we, become better as a person. That we like ourselves a bit more. And there are always stories to tell, things to learn from what we’ve been through.