If there is anything quarantining has taught me, it is how much I used ‘looking forward’ as a way of coping with the daily mundane before all of this weirdness began. To clarify, right now I would pay a ridiculous sum of money just to experience what I thought was ‘mundane’ about pre-coronavirus life. But, before I had all of the perspective that this experience has already given me, I definitely lived my life looking forward. The idea of curling up on my couch with a tasty snack and indulging in Netflix motivated me to get out of bed at 6AM and head to the gym. The idea of a gigantic plate of carbs and an ice cold beer got me through a long marathon training run. The idea of setting my Out of Office and traveling abroad got me through long work days. Now, the vast majority of things that I used to fixate on in order to push myself through less desirable activities are cancelled or massively on hold.
After two weeks of this ‘new normal,’ I’ve found it quite interesting how I’ve already begun to fill those gaps. The sensible mentality would be to stop looking to the future as a crutch to get me through the present, but instead learn to enjoy the present. I’m not quite there yet, and I find my brain desperately searching for things to look forward to. While I no longer had a weekend in Madrid to look forward to last weekend, my brain eagerly anticipated drinking a few beers and playing board games with family. During the week, I’m finding it hysterical how much I look forward to a shower. Before the coronavirus crisis, I only really looked forward to a shower after a hard workout or to warm up after being in the cold. All other times, it was just something I needed to get done every day. Now, I relish my daily shower as a time to myself to wash off the previous day and feel new, in a period where it is exceedingly difficult to distinguish one day from the next.
I think many of us are wondering what each of us as individuals, as well as the entire world, will look like after this is all over. Obviously, our hairstyles and economy will be in need of some serious TLC, but I wonder what will change about how we live. For as much as I used to resent the cliche idea of ‘being present,’ I’m hoping that a positive byproduct of all of this suffering is that I finally learn how to just be in whatever moment I have to be in without relying on what could be coming next. It would bring me so much peace if I could get to a point where I am able to enjoy the little things as they come along, and conversely not feel so utterly heartbroken when the future doesn’t work out exactly as I intended. Of course when this is all over I will still look forward to holidays and going to the pub after work, but I hope to be more emotionally equipped to appreciate now for what it is and accept the uncertainty that the future will inevitably hold. Like I said, I’m definitely not there yet, but we are only two weeks into quarantine! Who knows what the future will bring… until then I am going to take a very nice, long shower.