One of the biggest reasons for the decisions we make is how we’ll be perceived, judged and perhaps even ridiculed. But when that ever-present pressure of our peers is removed by quarantine, the border walls are knocked clean and all manner of opportunity is laid out before us, which direction will we take? Nobody’s watching, which begs the question:
Who will you be when we see you again?
We love questions like what would you do if you had a million bucks or what would you do, if you could do anything, these ‘choose your own adventure’ inquiries that force you to tap into personal desires and your place in this world amongst religion, politics and prejudice. Even the guests you invite, dead or alive, to a hypothetical dream dinner party speak volumes.
If we had to guess, most people spent the first month or two of their quarantines speeding through everything every streaming service had to offer, threw on a couple comfort classics — What About Bob? or maybe a few Christmas movies — to ease the pain while hoarding canned goods and toilet paper as they waited for the rain to let up. But it never did.
By the third month, people grew excessively restless and impatient, started pushing their limitations and being a little selfish, watching too much news and vying for an old life they wanted back immediately. Spring and summer came and went, no end in sight just yet, and now we’re closing in on six months.
Chadwick Boseman: You Were More Than Man Enough
As we roll into September, we have to think the old ways of doing things — nonstop TV binging, app dating, Post Mating — aren’t going to cut it anymore. Hopefully, it’s becoming clear what needs to happen, and if you haven’t made any moves because you’re worried about what your friends or family, neighbors and social media followers will think, then you’re out of excuses. It’s time to set aside the distractions and finally find what it is we’re looking for.
It’s exhausting trying to keep up the charade we’ve been living in. Keeping up with everyone on social media, measuring our self-worth by the curated stories of people we’ve either never met or imagine ourselves to be in competition with, spending all of our time convincing people that everything is all good all the time, pretending to be someone we’re not.
So who are you? And what do you want? What do you really want?
Who you are in this quarantine says a lot about who you are when no one else is around. What keeps you happy? What peaks your interest? What have you been looking into when you can’t sleep at night?
Because if you’ve spent all your time pretending to be the opposite of who you truly are, you’ll never get any rest, you’ll never find any peace in this life. Envision a life for yourself. What does it look like? Do you live in a crowded city that’s full of impatient people who think their time is more precious than yours, who honk their car horns on a Sunday afternoon like nothing is sacred anymore? Or do you want some peace and quiet away from the noise?
What do you want to be good at? And how do you get there? Do you to be known for something in your community? Do you want to build things for yourself, like your own house? Grow your own food? It would certainly help if another pandemic arose. You want to learn to ride horses? Adopt a bunch of dogs to roll around with? Rock climb? Open a cafe? Bring back something you miss in a new way? Have a handful of kids to roll around with? Coach a little league team? What is it you desire for yourself if nobody else could see it? What are you saving for? What are you waiting for?
It’s very rare we take time to ask these questions. When we’re young, we’re learning about girls and how to graduate as quickly as possible, then suddenly we’re out in the real world and looking back as the door to our youth shuts behind us. Suddenly, we’re adults making adult decisions, trying to be responsible for ourselves. But there’s a good chance a few of those early decisions we weren’t planning on making so fast weren’t the right ones, and now we have a moment to make a change, a shot at a do-over, if we want it.
Quarantine may seem long, but it’s really just another blip in the relatively short human experience so far. However, it may be just long enough for you to turn a few things around and get on the path to who you truly want to be. The first few months were exhausting, upsetting and unprecedented. The next few might not be easy either. But the negative outlook is done. We know what we have now — opportunity. Don’t squander it.
We promise there’s nothing worse than a life not lived, and there’s nothing better than being in the flow of exactly who you know you were meant to be. How you sleep at night will be the judge of that.
Sit with yourself away from the noise, the peer pressure and anything else that influences you to not be the person you want to be. You’ve got time. Jot down what comes to you. It may not be practical, it may not be easy and it may take a little time to get there, but there’s no better time, and there’s no better reason for doing something.
And when this is all over, we’ll see you out there, whoever you may be.