It is rare for life to happen as we want it to. More often than not, life simply happens and we have to learn to live with it or to adjust to it. As a large portion of the world sits inside, against their will, and has to spend time alone or without as many distractions as we like, we now are reflecting more than ever. Those of us quarantine with our families are no doubt reflecting on their life decisions to led them to this moment more than those of us who are alone. None the less quiet time will come to sit and think on it all. More so still when you are alone in your home or apartment and have exhausted all other forms of entertainment and distraction. Despite my best efforts YouTube and day drinking can’t keep me from this deep inner reflection. I really did try though.
At first I’m sure it’s a niece reprieve from the hustle and bustle of modern day life. It is a good thing to be alone. Especially when you haven’t in quite some time. Finally you can enjoy those things you’ve wanted to at long last. It is quiet and peaceful, there is no need to rush and hurry but above all you only need to worry about yourself. Those hobbies you’ve long wanted to take up are now possible, as long as they involve no more than six people and you can all stay six feet apart. The possibilities do seem endless, in a quarantined world. The silence is the most striking part. No outside chattering or the droll conversations of others. For the first time in a long time you can find yourself acutely hearing your own thoughts to completion the majority of the day. Much like the sweet call of the sirens, it slowly drags you in. Until finally you’re day drinking at ten o’clock while still wearing your pajamas and watch another episode of The Office.
The lack of responsibilities or having to follow a scheduled routine has led to a slothful indulgence in nothing at all. It is a dangerous thing to be alone. Now your thoughts will start to devour you as you relive all things you’ve said and done that have made you feel embarrassed or that you failed in some way. You’re beginning to question your place in the world. Your age and lack of success or accolades when compared to others. It all starts to add up. The silence has become deafening and now each small and subtle noise stands out keeping you awake at night. As you seek routines to fill your day, one by one they become boring and tedious. Now that you have nothing but time it has no value and only makes things worse. You find yourself feeling like Sisyphus, doing the same thing without end and with no reward for your efforts. Now sitting in a two hour meeting with Barbara to discuss 3rd quarter sales doesn’t sound so bad.
Despite the allure and the small pleasures that come with spending a great deal of time alone, in the end it will only leave you feeling empty before you go mad. We need people and activities with those people in our loves to provide it with meaning. No matter how we fill our days and regardless of wealth, we still need time with others to make it all have meaning and purpose. So that instead of reflecting who we want to be or what we should’ve said or done, we can work towards being that person or learning from those mistakes to become a better more complete person. At the end of it all, quarantine or not, it’s better to be driven mad with others then to go crazy and only annoy yourself.
There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall.– Sidonie Gabrielle Colette
Photo by J. Santiago Photography