Today I sat down and proposed myself I would think about 10 positive things quarantine has brought me. I had scheduled 1 hour for this exercise.
It took me 4. I admit it, the 10 item-list felt a bit impossible, so used I was of looking at this whole isolation thing as a curse rather than a blessing.
But, in the end, I made it.
And, honestly, I am truly glad about the things in this list. I don’t think they would ever have happened if not for quarantine, and I am glad they did.
* * *
1. It brought me here
If I was not isolated, I would never have started writing here on a Saturday evening. No no. My FOMO would have taken me out with my friends.
This forced introspection turned out to be very positive to unleash my creativity and to be able to, for once, sit down and write.
2. It showed me I had bullshit beliefs about myself
I always used to say ¨i just can’t work from home.’’ I accepted this absolute truth so much that, obviously, I really couldn’t.
Now that I have no option, well… turns out I can.
I also used to say “My mind is just too agitated for me to organize my place. It’s just how I am” to all my ex-boyfriends when faced with any kind of complaint of me leaving socks all over the floor.
Now that I have to spend 24 hours facing my mess, it became too much and I suddenly saw myself cleaning everything and keeping it organized — my mom did not believe this for a second so I have to constantly show her that my flat is still organized when we video chat.
3. It created time
Now that there is no commuting, no makeup and no dressing up every day, suddenly I found myself with so much extra time.
I can easily sleep one hour longer, enjoy my coffee while watching an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, and read much more.
All of that while doing the same amount of work.
Quarantine has created time. It’s a bit magical, even.
4. It enabled me to reconnect with my dog
Last year I was out of home for about 12 hours a day. My poor dog would stay alone in a small apartment because I had no other option. This broke my heart every day.
Now that I’m home all the time, we get to go out for a walk 3 times a day, and she is so happy. She gives me emotional support by showing me I’m not alone by snoring loudly on the couch, and she ruins every single one of my Yoga practices by licking my face while I’m doing a headstand.
She just shows me this huge amount of personality I had forgotten a bit about over the last year, so I’m glad I get to experience it again.
5. It made me try scary things
I always wanted to do dance classes. In my previous gym they had group courses and I would stay there outside watching. Never have I ever set foot inside that dance room.
With quarantine, I opened this exercise app I installed and saw something: Hip hop classes. I closed the blinds, and pressed play.
I was absolutely awful. But, thanks to the format, I could pause and rewind to get the movements I’d missed.
By the third class, I still sucked. But I was having a lot of fun (the blinds remained closed, I have no intention of inflicting any pain upon my neighbors).
6. It kept me closer to my friends who live far away from me
I am from Brazil but have been living in Germany for the past year. Ever since I moved here, my friends from back home and I never found the time to Skype each other. Not once.
It was always impossible coordinating 6 schedules in different time zones in the crazy world we live in. Just simply impossible. After a while, we stopped trying.
Now, we have a call every weekend, the 6 of us. It’s unbelievable. Even with 5 hours of time difference, we manage it. Because everyone is home, and there are no friends’ birthday parties and no family lunches, everyone is more available.
For the first time, I feel like I never left. And I love it.
7. It made me pay more attention to my apartment
Because I was out all day, I never felt like it made sense to invest any kind of energy in my apartment. Not only for organizing it, but also small things like buying flowers, or changing the lamps.
The result was that, because I didn’t invest in my place, it was not nice. And, because it was not nice to be in, I spent even longer amounts of time out.
Now that I am home and kind of need the lamps to be perfectly functioning in order to, you know, see, I like my place much more.
And I rediscovered really nice things about it — such as the way the sun rises in my bedroom and how nice it is to open all the windows and get a perfect flow of chilly spring breeze.
8. It gave me all the conditions to take better care of myself
From cooking at home very healthy dishes all the way to never again skipping my Yoga morning session, quarantine life has made it possible for me to take really good care of myself.
All of the beauty products I had are finally being put to use. Hair masks, facial argila, feet restoring cream. All of that. I never had better skin and hair that I have right now. I lost weight and I feel very flexible.
9. It forced me into getting new skills
Quarantine has turned me into a hairdresser and dog groomer, for example. It forced me to learn how to shave my dog and cut my hair.
Yes, it took me 7 hours the first time I got the shaving machine and started chasing Magda (my then very fluffy Pomeranian) until she was kind of decent looking.
And, even though the results are far from perfect, there is a feeling of empowerment that comes from being able to do things you always relied on others before.
10. It helped me save money
I know some of you are going full crazy mode into online shopping. To me, quarantine has been a money-saving blessing.
I used to spend so much with gym, restaurants and overpriced coffee. Just as an example with coffee, I calculated I spent an average of 90 euros per month.
Now it’s more about 30. I have my french press at home and a cheap capsule machine and it’s more than enough.
Also, I see no point in shopping for clothes if I can’t go out. Or makeup. And you realize how expensive those thing are. Big relief.
Finally, traveling. Of course I miss traveling a lot. But it feels nice to save extra money every month too. Because now, when all of this is over, I will be able to afford a very nice holiday.
* * *
I know that, once isolation is over, some of these things I won’t be able to keep doing, for example taking my dog outside 3 times a day, or saving the commute time in order to sleep a little longer.
And yes, I can easily write a 10-list item of things quarantine has taken away from me (for example, going to a café and have overpriced brunch). Hell, I can probably write a 100-item list of reasons why all of this stinks.
But why not also stop and acknowledge the positive side of this very obvious overall terrible global situation?
So, I suggest you do the same today. Sit down and find 10 positive things about your isolation experience. Even if it feels impossible. I know you can.
Previously published on Medium.com.
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