This last month has been so strange and it has taught me a lot as our lives turn into the quarantine rhythm. At the beginning of the month, I was so excited about spring break and I had one more week to get through in order to get to rest. When spring break got interrupted, I had to learn new routines and to adjust to the new reality. And I learned a few things.
Expect the unexpected
In life, we are so sure of our plans, we schedule things out months in advance, we let our lives play out by a calendar. Well, we sure got interrupted. It’s wild to think that one moment things were normal. Waking up, living life, and the next moment, you’re stuck inside, the news is bleak, and all you can do is mourn the things you were expecting.
Sometimes our expectations can actually be entitlements. We think that life has to go by this set plan that we created. I think that’s arrogant. We are only humans. We can only control ourselves. Not our friends, our work, our communities. We can only control our own actions. When we start getting angry that nothing is going to our plan, that’s when it’s best to step back and really evaluate whether we have expectations or entitlements.
That said, it still sucks that life is on pause. We can be sad about the moments we thought we would have with loved ones. I just think it would be wise to keep in mind those who are sick, those who are on the front lines, those who are unemployed, those who are in bad living situations. Give your support to the people who need it.
Moving forward I don’t think I will take for granted hugs and walking around Grounds, seeing people I know. I won’t take for granted the late night spontaneous adventures that college brings. Or the weekend trips in Virginia. It’s okay to be sad, but if you live entitled, you will always be disappointed.
Taking photos of normal life
In the Instagram age where people make a living off of it and there are influencers, everyone is taking photos. I often wish I could delete my online image – to keep something sacred. If you’re interested in how social media sites collect data, you should check out the Netflix documentary The Great Hack. Social media is scary and it’s worrying that the government has used data collection to infringe upon the privacy of the people.
But taking photos of my normal life was an unexpected blessing. I knew I was going to blog my spring break and I was going to share with a friend all that I had been up to. I wanted to have some photos ready. I look back on those moments in awe and gratitude.
We never know when life is going to take a turn. I learned that taking photos of my normal life was healing when life wasn’t normal anymore. So here’s to random photographs in ordinary moments.
Your habits are forged in the everyday
Since getting home, my productivity and state of being significantly declined. I was sleeping in until 11. I didn’t have any quiet time. I wasn’t reading or catching up on homework. My environment at school was a trigger for all my regular habits. Being at home meant I stumbled into the habits for summertime or winter break.
Being home has been a struggle of fixing these habits. I get up at 8. Instead of 9, because I need less time to get ready for class. I have online classes, do homework, and then listen to podcasts, read, or have my quiet time.
Reprogramming yourself to work in a different environment is such a battle, but it’s one that really makes you shift your environment to aid in habit building. My blinds are open so I can rise with the sun. My browser window opens to my to do list so I can get to work for the day. I set my phone in another room while working. I work at a desk so I’m not tempted to lie in bed. Working at home is difficult but by no means is it impossible.
Becoming emotionally self-aware
These last few months, I was running on fumes, taking few breaks but barely. My life was school and homework, friends and activities. I was active on the blog but not invested in the blogging community and I did not have much of a social media presence.
In the midst of friends or work, I didn’t have much time to feel deeply about my life trajectory and emotions like sadness or loneliness. This extra time has really brought up fear for me. Fear about my college major, fear about job opportunities, fear about living life the right way. I don’t think I necessarily felt super invested in some of the things I was doing, and now I wish I was.
Now I think about the people that I won’t see for a long while and the ways life has gotten disrupted, it’s easier to realize that I’m sad because there isn’t anything I can do, no activity for me to get lost in.
Social media fasts are amazing
If you know me, you would know that I love Twitter. It can be problematic if you are using it wrongly but it’s by far, my favorite platform. Facebook is too old school, Instagram can make me compare myself, and Youtube is overwhelming. I follow the right people on Twitter who encourage one another and I love seeing the cat photos.
I took a social media fast, so no Twitter, no Instagram, nothing. I do admit I went on Youtube a few times. I didn’t scroll on Twitter or Instagram during Lent. It was a much needed time to teach myself that I could live without consuming content. These apps are designed to make us addicted to them. And oftentimes, we are left feeling unsatisfied.
If you want to step away and slightly unplug, delete all social media apps. Especially now that we have more hours to scroll, make this your chance to stop scrolling and think about the life you want to live after quarantine. Do you want to spend your time scrolling or spend your time in the moment.
Song recommendation: Keep Me in the Moment by Jeremy Camp
I will be doing a part two of this post. There are many more things I’ve learned and I want to share!