Submitted Date 04/13/2020

Alright, so I'm a pessimist, but I still search every day and try to claw through the rubble in my mind to find some sort of positive spin to this situation that we are all in with quarantine and new pandemic news and death reports each day. The world to me feels as if it is spiraling and changing so fast, with new regulations and stories each moment. I have always been the type of person with the news report notifications on my phones, multiple apps, and tuning in each day to catch up with the world and local news, but recently I have become exhausted. Recently, I have felt like there's no use to tune in anymore because no matter if I try to convince myself that there is some kind of hope that isn't too far stretched from my fingertips, the news lets me down. I know it's good to stay updated, but it's been simply exhausting at this point. The world feels like it's spiraling, and I think the best thing I can do is try to remind myself not to spiral with it.

My county is quarantined so that we will not spiral with the negatives that are going on right now. I try to tell myself to take some breaths and I try to agree with the people on my social media and the articles I see that try to give people some hope and sense of worth when sentences go on about how this is actually a blessing; we as a society are getting the opportunity to slow down. To stop. However I don't like turning this halt into something of an opportunity to 'be better' to try and learn a bunch of new things, to do a bunch of home workouts, cook a bunch of recipes that you probably wouldn't like or eat before this, etc. I think it's a great opportunity to have this time to learn new things, don't get me wrong, and I have been using it to catch up on my online art shop and be a bit more productive alongside working at home, but what's the point in aweing at the fact that we are having this moment to halt, to be silent, when the instant reaction is to try and fill this silence with new things to do and learn ASAP? We are now able to hear the thoughts in our heads a little bit louder amidst the quiet in our minds, because our routines have halted, our days have silenced a bit. There are no early morning commutes or traffics, no bustling mornings to get out the door, the long lines in the coffee shops, the meetings and phone calls, the homework and lectures, there are no crowds. I understand the awe in everything right now. From the anxiety to the realization that we may (and hopefully not) ever experience our routines, towns and cities so halted, we may never get this moment of silence in our lives ever again. I'm sure most of us have wondered what would happen if the world just stopped, and now, it's happening. As much as I also want things to be back to normal, I am trying to be comfortable in the uncomfortable of this silence.

I am truly trying to look at this in a positive light. I am trying to shift my eyes away from the news 24/7 and shift them inward to myself. I know I get this moment to think, to learn more about myself and remind myself of the things I wanted to do to work on myself that I did not get the chance to before due to work and plans, etc. I am trying to find comfort in listening to my inner thoughts that were so easy to tone down and cut out when I lived my normal scheduled life that allowed me a distraction from the things that were broken and creaking inside of me. I admit, I am still upset. I am happy for the people who really needed this opportunity to step back and assess their lives, and I feel for the people who were just about to start a new chapter. The almost-graduating seniors at high school and colleges. The ones who were so ready to get out there and job hunt, but now everything is closed and halted. I feel for that. Almost a year ago, I decided to take a risk and quit my job and find out what I really wanted to pursue. When 2020 came along, I had built a foundation over the past months where I felt confident in what I wanted in life and where I wanted to be. No kidding, I had started going back to the gym, I had stopped my anti-depressants, I was just hired at a new job, and I re-opened my online art shop, I even tried to stop drinking in March, I was so ready I has also just got a delivery of a bunch of new blouses and shoes for work. Then, just like that, four days before the Monday that I was supposed to head in to start my new job, we were quarantined. I found it appalling and sadly hilarious, but I still convince myself I have an important part not just in staying quarantined and keeping loved ones and others safe, but I have an important part in not ignoring myself through this time. All I have right now is myself. I felt bummed that this happened when I was about to start something new in my life, that I had taken that time after my previous job to explore and travel and understand what I wanted to do and what direction I wanted to go in, but after some thinking, I'm starting to think maybe I was wrong. And despite having some part of my life figure out kind of for once, I decided to take this time to just…be, to focus on my mental health a bit more.

I don't want to seem like I'm coming off trying to inspire you to try all the new things, to try and learn a bunch of things or to start working out more or to learn new recipes or re-connect with people. I don't want to come off as if I am saying this time is a great time to write that book you've always wanted to, or start that shop, draw that thing, re-arrange your house, no. I am just trying to find the positive in this, in myself. And somedays, that positive spin I find in my mind of this situation is that I get to stay in, and I get to stay cozy, and I get to watch a movie the whole way through without being interrupted or feelings guilty about binge watching, because I barely have any other obligations on weekends or after working from home. I don't want anyone to feel like they actually need to be productive during this time, because you don't. You don't have to come out of quarantine as a better or more rounded person with new skills…that's unfair. Society will always have this work-work-work mindset, and I have a work-work-work mindset, too. I do feel guilty when I am not working towards something…but if there's one thing to learn right now, it's to learn how to kick that feeling to curb and put yourself and your wants first. Do you want to sit on the couch, play video games or watch tv and just be? Then that's fine. If it's going to make you happy, if it's going to make you relax, if it's going to help subside your anxieties in this pandemic, why feel bad?

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