On Social Distancing and the Subtle Art of Isolation

I’m grieving.

I’m sure you are too, dear reader.

I think it’s easy, or at least it has been for me, to look at everything we’ve lost. And we’ve lost so much, right? Some of us have lost graduations, family, an accurate sense of time. So I’ve chosen instead to list something that I gained, particularly–my sense of home.

Back before everything shut down, I was never home. I came home late, and left the house early, a natural result of someone who likes to fill her days doing as many things as possible. Saving bouts of depression, I’ve always been that way. Being outside was an adventure, and I love the excitement of having a full day ahead of me. As quarantine continues, the adventures of outside have been taken away from me, too.

But that’s okay. Or it isn’t okay, none of this is okay, but I’m trying my best to take joy in the small pleasures of it all. Laying in my bed, sleeping in, eating whatever I want, whenever I want. There’s endlessness and lawlessness in how I do my day to days now, which is an adventure in its own sort of way. I’m fortunate to have a home to be in during these perilous times, and being with my family has been a gift. Strangely, this crisis has made me realize how transient my days were. I’d see my family every day, but I never really saw my family until the summer. I never had the time to sit and talk and bask in their existence, not in the way I do now.

Soon, I won’t be living with them anymore, as I’ll be moving out to start graduate school (a doctorate in English, of all things). Quarantine has given me the time to just sit back and enjoy my family, which I am eternally grateful for, though I do miss my friends dearly. Little moments like sitting on the couch, laughing uncontrollably with my mom, or baking my brother’s favorite thing and seeing his eyes light up with excitement has eased my mind greatly during these stressful times.

Through it all, I’m trying to find pockets of joy. COVID willing, I’ll be headed to Virginia in the fall to start graduate school at University of Virginia, and I’m set to graduate with high honors in English. I’ve been working hard for many years and I’m seeing the fruits of my labor through email, but most importantly in the comfort of my own home.

There are people going through much worse than I am–as Najet Miah has written, there are people in prison suffering. There are people who have no homes, who have homes but no food or no jobs. Perspective and analyzing the extent of your privilege is as necessary in these times as taking a break is.

Whatever the case is, we will not emerge from quarantine the same way we entered it. I am fortunate that despite all odds, I’ll have something to emerge to, something to look forward to. I can only hope you all find things to look forward to, and enjoy the spaces you inhabit.