Checking in with quarantine: Where I’ve been and where I’m going

By Chase Gargus

It’s hard to believe that we’re almost a year into quarantine. A year into a new status quo of online classes, staying at home and relearning how to be a functional human during a global pandemic. Let’s take a moment to check-in. How are we all doing? How are those quarantine hobbies coming along? How about that home gym you set up in your garage, getting much use?

These past couple of months of quarantine have been different for all of us but picking up these quarantine hobbies is an experience I think we’ve all shared to some extent or another; and why wouldn’t it. When the world outside seems like it’s going crazy, it’s easier to hunker down and focus on your embroidery than wrestle with this ever-changing world we live in. 

I’ve worn many hats myself over this quarantine season, trying to find something that fits. Like everyone over the summer, I baked more sourdough than my roommates or I could ever eat. I spent way too much money on embroidery thread and needles only to embroider one tote bag and set it aside. I even picked up a daily yoga routine (that I stuck to for maybe a week). The point is, maybe you’re like me and you’re feeling a little lackluster about what you’ve been able to accomplish while stuck at home. Don’t beat yourself up too bad, global pandemics considered, you’re doing pretty darn well just making it through the day.  

Recently, I’ve been grappling with my desire to be this “productive person” during quarantine. The internet would have me believe that I need to be filling every second of my day with tasks to be whole. TikTok is full of people completely remodelling their kitchens or learning how to play the piano, and that’s a lot of pressure. I think it’s a part of the reason why I’ve picked up (and subsequently dropped) so many different projects of my own over this past year. It’s almost like it’s become a competition of who can do the most with their time in quarantine when in fact, we’re all already busy being students, workers, parents etc.

With this in mind and thinking about how I want the next couple of months to go, I’ve been doing a lot of goal setting for myself. This will be my last semester at university before graduating into the big wide world and having to deal with all the big life changes that come along with that. I’ve come to the realization that maybe that’s enough. Maybe I don’t need to go out of my way to force these changes in my life when my life seems to be doing a great job changing on its own.  Why stress about becoming a quote-un-quote better more productive person, when I can focus on doing what I already love and celebrating the things that I can do. 

For example, I’m super proud of the work I’ve been able to do with my Ukrainian Student Organization here in Victoria, B.C., and how much progress I’ve made learning Ukrainian over the past year. Also, I may not have read a book a week as I’d hoped, but I am learning to appreciate even the short moments I can find to relax and read a page or to from my favourite books.

Faced with the pressure of a new school semester, and of a quarantine that threatens to still stick around, I encourage everyone to take a moment to celebrate everything we’ve been able to achieve against all odds. As we continue to adapt to life in quarantine, don’t stress yourself out more than you have to. Work hard, take up a new hobby if you want to, but don’t forget to celebrate your achievements and your successes, and no matter what, know that we got this!

Take a look at this article written by the New York Times to read more about the myth of “quarantine productivity.”