Host Jenna's perspective on how her life has changed because of Quarantining. *WRITTEN IN MARCH OF 2020.
What the fuck has this year been. Since the beginning of 2020, we have relived ancient Egypt's 10 plagues and have experienced a worldwide pandemic, killer hornets, proposed WWIII and, of course, we cannot forget that Trump is still in power. This year sounds like an episode of Riverdale that even the producers felt was too far fetched and decided not to produce.
Quarantining has affected everyone on this earth in some way; some are thriving from the ability to spend the days self-pampering and reflecting while others are losing their minds without true forms of human interaction.
How have I been doing? Glad you asked. I've been okay! I've been surprised with how calm and collected I have been so far, considering how my anxious personality led me to predict I'd be mid second breakdown of the day while writing this. A lot of my anxiety revolves around a fear of getting sick- yet I seem to be coping pretty well! The fact that our governments have been working so hard to implement as many protective measures as humanly possible makes me stay calm, and, too be honest, even if mandated social distancing wasn't a thing, my anxiety would've probably wanted me to hide away from the rest of the world as a preventative measure anyway!
So, in short, I back it all.
I strongly believe that everything happens for a reason and that we are only going to come out stronger from experiencing this. I think it is pretty cool to think that, despite how frightening and difficult, this is something EVERYONE on this Earth will have gone through. Every race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation- all share in this journey. I'm not sure how many other moments in history can even claim that.
My life has surely changed since beginning to quarantine however, and I'd like to share with you what I've added and removed to my daily routines. Hopefully, this list will give you some ideas for how this time can be used for bettering yourself and finding ways to see the good.
1. MORE dancing
Something I have incorporated into my daily routine has been dance parties. Now I'm not talking choreographed routines or cute club grooving; I'm talking jumping around like a maniac to some of my favourite songs that remind me of my childhood. This has been such a liberating activity for me and, while helping to keep me active, has allowed me to relearn how to be weird and silly without fear of judgment. I care far too much about what people think and this has been my first step to getting over that. Free dancing will definitely be something I bring into my post-quarantine life.
2. LESS going out 'because others wanted me to'
I an an extroverted introvert, which means I can put on a show as an extrovert but deep down I live on my alone time and tire easily from socializing. In college, I often find myself going out to parties and clubs because it feels like what a college kid should do rather than because I really want to. Quarantine has given me an easy out from wild drinking nights and is a much needed break. I'm sure I'll miss being out with friends eventually, but for now I am content with my early bedtimes and comfy clothes.
3. MORE play
Quarantine has brought out the inner child in all of us. We're losing our fascination with all day Netflix and are reverting back to our days of tie dye-ing, DIYS, paint parties, board games, beading, and colouring books. Play is something that, unless practiced, humans forget how to do and we actually need to reteach ourselves to have fun and make believe. Play keeps us young and provides easy enjoyment and stimulation. I've learned that adulting is so overrated and I'd much rather stay a kid for a bit longer.
4. LESS heat damage
I finally did it! I gave my poor hair a break from the straighteners, curling irons and handfuls of products and have embraced my natural wild curls throughout quarantine. This is a big deal for me since the last time I wore my hair natural was the sixth grade. My hair is healthy and I'm beginning to appreciate the unique gift I was graced with. Curly girls unite!
5. MORE self-reflection and spirituality
I am not the most religious person I know but I have always been fairly spiritual. It brings me comfort to believe in something larger than myself and in a higher purpose. I believe that everyone can (and should!) belong to as many spiritual practices as they see fit. For me, I am Jewish which has always been a large part of my identity. But I have always also been fascinated with some non-god centred philosophical ways including Taoism, Buddhism and Hinduism. I choose to subscribe to Judaism as my faith and Taoism as my lifestyle approach. I haven't yet transformed my life into the ways of the Tao but I have been taking the time I've been gifted to study up on the ways I can implement these values into my daily routine.
6. LESS drama
Hallelujah! While I miss my friends, it's nice to have a break from girl drama and friendship squabbles. It's really hard to start beef when you're 6ft apart and so I'm LOVING that the only drama I partake in right now is my reactions to my weekly Survivor episodes.
7. MORE new skills
This one goes hand-in-hand with #3- I've learned tons of new skills throughout this time! I'm baking and cooking, tap dancing, creating art and working on my online graphic design portfolio. I hope to learn how to cross-stitch soon!
8. LESS spending money on coffee and lunches
It was frightening to look at my past bank statements and see how much money I wasted on Starbucks coffees and lunches. Sometimes, I had no choice as I was running between classes downtown and had to grab anything quick and convenient but HOLY did it put a dent in my wallet. I've been cooking for my self a lot and have even perfected my own 'at home' caramel macchiato which I now think is BETTER than my Starbucks order. I may be a convert and be turned off it for life now!
9. MORE meaningful encounters
I am working hard to socially distance and only see friends and family on rare occasions like birthdays or via video call. This means that when I do see and speak to my people; I have really meaningful encounters that are more than just "hanging out to keep my busy". I recognize that my time with them is precious and that I need to value every moment I get to see them for, even through a window or from 6ft away. I hope that after this I no longer take for granted my visits with my grandfather or bonding moments with friends.
10. LESS privileged perspectives
Don't get me wrong- I'm not saying my privilege disappeared from this experience! I just feel that by living through this and educating myself on how it is deeply affecting certain communities more than others, I am able to better see how my problems are far smaller in comparison and really are just a grain of sand in the beach that is my life. I have been a camp counsellor since I was 11 years old and, for the first time since then, I will not be attending camp this summer due to COVID-19. I had many family and friends come to comfort me and share their condolences with my loss. I was sad that my summer will seem different than I once expected, but I also was able to grasp that this small inconvenience serves a larger purpose and that my struggle is so minor in comparison to what others are experiencing currently. I received some much needed perspective and for that, along with so much else, I am grateful.
This list just skims the surface and I've learned WAY more from quarantining than I ever thought I would. I'm not sure how much longer this will last but I am optimistic we will come out of it stronger and more resilient. We need to be SO appreciative of the frontline heroes and government workers who are risking their lives every day for our safety. This time is a test and we will pass it if we all work together and act responsibly.
Looking forward to the day when we can all look back on this and marvel at how we got through it.
We're strong enough to get there- I just know it!