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Quarantine goals. They’re like new year’s resolutions, just more annoying and with way more social pressure to come out of this period having “improved” yourself (🙄), or having accomplished something monumental enough to look back on as a “silver lining”. Ew. Lol.
I get it. We’re looking for measures of control and bright spots in the bleakness of this landscape practically screaming with CNN death toll alerts and graphic pictures of body bags and mobile morgues. This is horrible, and I would argue that many media outlets and those in positions of authority (looking especially at you, Trump administration) have spectacularly failed us. That’s for another post.
I just don’t think you need to be harder on yourself.
Can we talk about this social pressure to come out of the coronavirus crisis a “better person”? I’m not here for it at all. Coming out alive and not killing anyone you happen to be living with—or FaceTiming with, or both—is not good enough, apparently. On a serious note, I really think it’s a negative thing to put undue pressure on people to compete with each during this time when we’re all already extra stressed and dealing with a ton of changes and an uncertain end date for all of this to be over (whatever “over” means) now. Social media has become even more competitive now, ironically, since no one is going out to actually do anything. I don’t need more anxiety, and I definitely don’t want to be told I should be making productive use of my time by anyone else.
The cliched mottos of “we’re all in this together” and “stay safe” seem to present half-hearted bywords that are really poor excuses for genuine human connection. I know people mean well. I’ve actually fostered connections with some people over the last few weeks on a level that I hadn’t before. That’s definitely a positive thing. It’s also not forced. Contrived notions of “finding yourself” while also becoming some kind of world class chef or other virtuoso in a matter of weeks aren’t just ridiculous and insulting, but I think they can be psychologically damaging. By all means, connect with other people. Learn new skills—if you want to. Again, just don’t be hard on yourself. Things are scary now. Hopefully, you’re doing what you can to keep yourself and others as safe as you can. You don’t owe anyone to become more interesting or grounded or enlightened.
It’s also ok to be upset that you’re inconvenienced. It’s more than inconvenience, really. As a society, we’ve suddenly been forced to fundamentally alter our daily lives. That’s not a small thing. You’re not a bad person for not taking it in stride, or for finding yourself frustrated, sad, angry, and longing to be able to actually see people in person. You don’t have to “get over” these feelings. Add the ever present fear of getting sick to all of this, along with serious economic impacts on an individual level, and it’s more than understandable if you’re not as ok with this as other people might’ve told you that you should be.
I think there’s also an increased sense of guilt if you’re not out actively saving lives or putting yourself on the “front lines”. Those are incredibly admirable endeavors. It’s ok if that’s not you right now. Just try to be kind and patient with people, including yourself. That’s something we should all practice, all the time, anyway.