“Self-quarantine and solitude can surface as a strength if you let it” — Introspective Maniac
For many of us, 2020 held promise. It was a new year. A time for new beginnings and change, much like the start of any other year, except one thing really shook the certainty of our futures: COVID-19.
I remember sitting in my last class on Tuesday and being informed of an extended spring break and the possibility of school being moved online permanently. Well, I thought this was great news…I get to live at school and still be with my friends without having to actually go to class. Little did I know, things progressed quickly in the coming weeks. Our school along with many other educational institutions closed their campuses and a state-mandated stay-at-home order was issued. Thus began the self-quarantine life, which many of us are still processing.
For me, this was both a blessing and a curse. I acknowledge my privilege of being able to have both a roof over my head and a family to take me in during this time of uncertainty. In fact, it created a safety bubble. One in which I was able to put the breaks on life and completely focus on myself.
With a two-week spring break ahead of me and nothing planned, my innate introspective nature took over. With school being cut halfway through the second semester of my senior year, I felt overwhelmed and nostalgic. I was stuck on the fact that I would have no closure. I would never see half the people I saw on a daily basis again. I would not be able to soak up and enjoy my last few weeks of college. How was I supposed to transition to the real world now? But then it hit.
For me, college had always been representative of this sort of limbo state of mind and oblivion. I was in a major that I lost interest in very early on (as early as second semester Freshman year) and on track to pursue a career that everyone thought was best for me, aside from myself. I was stuck living out other people’s dreams and ignoring my own. There were times I would scratch the surface of what I wanted and be one step closer, but I would always manage to somehow self-sabotage. This was emotionally and mentally draining. It then became a matter of escaping that reality. I was engaging in a repetitive cycle of unhealthy habits to momentarily forget about where I was in life, simply waiting for the weekend. This continued on till self-quarantine was imposed.
Once I was told to leave the limbo and oblivion behind to relocate myself back home, I was able to indulge in solitude and look at everything more objectively. I was going through so many waves of emotions. Mainly, I was disappointed. I was disappointed in the way I led my life, the people I was surrounded by, and my priorities. How could I have let this phase go on for so long? I suddenly saw this burst of motivation cultivate inside me. I wanted to change. No, I needed to change. In fact, it turned out to be the quest for my identity. The crazy part about this realization is that it may have never occurred had I not been forced to self-quarantine.
So, I encourage you to take this luxury of time during self-quarantine to think and reflect on your past patterns, thoughts, ideals, and priorities, for it may help you go from limbo to clarity too. Self-quarantine and solitude can surface as a strength if you let it.