As quarantine restrictions start to gently lift, I find myself looking at life in lockdown in an oddly rosier light. Yes, there was a terrible cost. Yes, it’s been hard on many people. The economic fallout has been staggering and it has shoved the most marginalized of us into more precarious places.
I realize I’ve been privileged enough to weather the worst of the storm (so far) without the worst of consequences happening to me.
So yes, giant caveat there.
However, I found that there was something oddly calming about pushing the pause button on society.
We spend so much time rushing around for urgent matters that, in the long run, won’t be things we even remember a year from now. We get upset over small slights.
During times of peace and prosperity, in absence of any true life-or-death problems, the mind begins to zero in on trivial matters and transform them into monsters.
You worry about where you are in life. Are you in the right career, are you doing the right thing?
You worry about what people think about you. You ruminate over how Bob didn’t wave back to you over the fence, and you wonder what you might’ve done, or what he might’ve done — or you know what, screw him he’s not getting a Christmas card this year and you’ll avoid eye contact with him until you die.
All of that evaporates in an instant when faced with the undeniable possibility that tomorrow, or the next hour, or the next minute, or the next second you will catch a virus that could cause you to die.
All of that is wiped out when every time you open the door of your home to step outside, you enter involuntarily into a game of Russian Roulette.
There is a simplicity about living life in the moment-by-moment increments forced upon us by the prospect of dying.
I walk by trees all the time. A few weeks ago was the first time I actually heard the breeze brush their leaves in I-don’t-know-how-long.
I’ve often worried about missing out. Of being left out. During lockdown, there was nothing to worry about — we were all together in that we were all missing out on everything.
I have often been worried about how I’m performing professionally, socially and even in my hobbies.
Now, I’m more worried about cleaning every door handle I touch, wiping them in concentric circles over and over again — wax on, wax off.
Perhaps it’s simply just replaced one set of fears for another. But it felt strangely refreshing to rotate the crops.
Some fears are simpler than others, and in a strange way, sometimes oddly easier to bear.
Wax on, wax off.