Quarantine Inspired Self-Discovery – Who Are You Lately?

Gather round children and let me tell you about my time in quarantine and my unplanned journey of self-discovery.

It has now been 8 months since the pandemic began here. It’s been 8 months since my work has closed down. And in a strange turn of events, it has been 8 months of me spending time with myself and figuring out who I am.

Just like everyone else, I thought I had a pretty good understanding of who I was as a person. I’ve certainly had enough time to develop a personality (and subsequent personality flaws). However, what I didn’t account for was the fact that your surroundings influence you. The people you see every day influence you. Your coworkers influence you. And it’s only when you let yourself be in the silence of your own thoughts that you truly start to see yourself more clearly.

I’ve never been someone who was afraid to be alone. In fact, I’ve always been fiercely protective of my alone time, if only because I had so little of it. I would often think that it was the only thing I really wanted. Some space and peace to wallow in, like a cat on a lazy day in a perfect patch of sunlight.

After months of absurd amounts of wallowing, I can say with certainty that I was right. I needed that silence to start hearing my own thoughts again. Unfiltered, uninfluenced by outside sources. Every sporadic idea and passion I’ve had over the years that I didn’t have time to focus on that got pushed down, floated back up to the surface.

All of a sudden, I had hobbies again. I could write and draw and learn how to make candles. I could doodle designs. I could spend time researching things that interested me. I could do yoga! Do you know how many times I told myself I was going to “actually do yoga”? Downward dog and I are best friends now.

If I believed that the universe was a living, breathing thing that gently guided us towards our paths by pulling on invisible strings, I would certainly believe that this was no accident. What better way to force people to face themselves and how far they’ve strayed from their center than to simply force everyone to be alone? Sure, a lot of us decided to start baking bread from scratch to avoid “feeling the feelings” but that could only last for so long. I’ve baked so much bread my stretchy pants became my everyday pants. Eventually, I had to concede and give myself time to sit in silence.

In a strange, twisted way, I’m grateful for this pandemic. It forced me to slow down, something I never would’ve done if it had been left in my own hands. It also allowed me to dig for the things that actually made me happy and made me feel like myself. It allowed creativity back into my life, something I desperately needed but didn’t realise.

It also made me realise how stuck I really was. Stuck in the same job, in the same routine, and running in the same circle, day after day. This is true for many people. We start out with big dreams and goals, and then a few adjustments later, we’ve settled into a life that looks nothing like we planned. Perhaps this pandemic will cause a break in the pattern and function as a wake up call for others that have settled and forgot what they really wanted out of life. Maybe it takes a pandemic for us to really live.

There’s always so much talk about self-love and self-care in our society, but most of us buy fancy candles and bottles of wine and avoid what it really means. Sometimes it means sitting in silence and feeling the disappointment. And sometimes, it’s letting yourself start over.

It has been less than a year, but it feels like a different life now. And in a way, a different planet.  

Eventually, our world will settle back into its regular rhythm. A routine will establish itself. Once again, you will feel the quicksand of the “everyday normal” nip at your ankles, ready to pull you back into the haze.

The question is, are you going to let it?

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