I stopped writing because I didn’t feel like I had much to say. Laid off from my job, at home all day every day, time becoming a strange insubstantial thing and days bleeding into each other in disconcerting ways. It didn’t seem like my experience was much different than anyone else’s, or like I might have anything to add to existing conversations. It became cumbersome to try to think of things to write about. Ultimately, really, thinking at all became cumbersome.
And now, months later, not much in my life has changed. I still don’t have a job. I still am staying safe at home all the time.
The world outside my walls is in chaos and news of it is constantly upsetting. In here, though, things are quiet and peaceful.
So many people are clamoring for the world to open up again, for it to get back to what it used to be, as though that’s something that is possible. I understand and accept those views, but I do not share them.
I do not want what I had before. I do not want my “normal” back. Months spent at home have made me see how miserable my normal was making me.
Everyone is different. Our vast differences are what make us a vibrant, progressive species. I try to remind myself that my form of different does not make me a bad person. The way I feel and what I enjoy is what makes me who I am. No better, no worse. Simply different.
One of the ways in which I am different is that I have loved being at home alone for months on end. I hate the reasons I am here. I hate that people are suffering. And, in some ways, I hate that I am not one of them.
I am not suffering at all. I am the happiest I have ever been in my life, and I hate myself for it. I have no right to be happy when the cause of my happy situation is a pandemic.
It’s important to be honest, though, so I might recreate these conditions during happier times. The truth is, I love being at home alone. I love going to bed early and waking up with the sun feeling well-rested and eager to conquer my day. I love creating daily to-do lists that contain tasks I am excited by. I am productive, fulfilled, delighted almost all the time.
Years ago, I decided to try to eliminate the word “should” from my vocabulary. It was and is a struggle.
I feel I should feel differently than I do right now. I should be more distressed than I am. I should not be happy.
When I remove the word “should,” though… I realize and appreciate what I am rather than trying to hold myself to false ideals.
I am feeling content these days. I am someone who does not mind being at home alone for months at a time, barely leaving the house and hardly ever experiencing true human connection. I enjoy being on my own.
I have pledged to not fight myself anymore. Thus, my search for work acknowledges and accepts who I truly am.
I am someone who was made exhausted and unhappy by the life I once had, and I am someone who has the option now to choose otherwise. I do not have to go to an office in order to earn my living. I do not need to start and end my workdays at the hours someone else dictates.
Instead, I can work from home full time if I choose to do so. I can commit to completing tasks by a certain deadline, then complete those tasks at the time and place of my choosing.
I can create a work-life for myself that brings me joy rather than despair. I am currently working towards this aim.
A pandemic is not a good thing. Having external forces require I put my life on pause and take time to assess, though, is very much a good thing.
It is good that I appreciate the things I have. I am grateful I am in a secure financial position. I am grateful to have my mental, emotional and physical health. I am grateful my skill set allows me flexibility in my job search. I am grateful that I enjoy being at home alone, and am not made miserable by doing what is currently required of me for the greater good.
The Before Times will not return, and humankind will adjust to new norms that are sustainable and logical. That has not yet happened, though, which makes right now is a time of uncertainty. Uncertainty will always bring distress. And yet, it’s okay to appreciate the things that bring happiness. It’s okay for me to acknowledge that I am happier these days. It does not mean I wish anyone ill. It just means I am using this time to learn more about who I am and what I want out of life. I can’t imagine anyone judging that as a bad thing, can you?