Sparkling Isolation – Day 19

10 down, 60 to go

Earlier in the week, I received an email indicating that we will be working from home until at least May 18. Since I have finished the two-week online class I was taking, I have nothing to take up my extra time. I decided to make a list of things to do around my apartment – kind of a spring cleaning to-do list. I think I had a moment of OCD. Instead of just making a list, I printed out labels with each room of my apartment and put them on my vision board. I then took multi-colored post-it notes and put one singular task – something relatively simple and achievable – on each note and put them on the board. I will paste in a photo here.

70 things to do

Today, I managed to do 10 out of the 70 tasks. Before anyone thinks to congratulate me on my industry, this had nothing to do with being focused. I was feeling so unbelievably lost and unfocused today, that I began to grasp at anything I could in order to take up the time. The tasks I achieved were really rather random – a couple in the bathroom, one in the living room, a few in the front entryway, some in the side stairway area. No real pattern, just anything to take up the time.

I think today, finally, the enormity of what’s happening finally sunk in fully. It’s not that I haven’t been paying attention, but up until now I have been in a mode of getting used to working from home, then dealing with my online class. Today I had my first real day of ‘nothing to do’ and I realized that this will become more the norm. The projects around my apartment are all things that I might have gotten to eventually, but now they seem like the only hope I have to keep myself busy.

I finally feel the edges of the anxiety I have been trying to avoid. I realize that everyone is dealing with this, so my issues are not unusual. All I can do is just allow myself to feel what I feel. Also, I have come to the understanding that it’s not necessary to be “productive” all the time. So many people are out there posting and doing webinars about “how to be productive” during this situation, as though productivity is the sign of success.

This cuts right to the heart of what’s wrong with the work ethic of our country. There’s this pervasive belief that more is better, that working harder is important, that work must come first and all else takes a back seat. I have come to see the fallacies in those beliefs. The idea that we “live to work” must be replaced with “work to live.” My job is just that – a job. The money I earn is for me to have a better life, to do the things that I enjoy, to create positive energy in my life.

So here’s my epiphany of the day. I don’t need my job for that. If I can find ways to have the energy of joy, the sense of freedom, the ability to do things that make the world a better place – then I don’t need to have a “traditional” job. I think this time of solitude is a time for me to wrap my brain around all of those concepts.

I will be productive, but on my own schedule and because I want to be – not because I feel any sense of societal obligation to do it.

It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.