Social distancing has the world on standstill, but that doesn’t mean your growth has to be

At this point, most of us have been in quarantine or social distancing for about a month give or take. As a society we really aren’t used to having immense amounts of time on our hands, and so if I was to guess how the first few weeks of quarantine went for most people (just based on a hunch really, not experience or anything of course), I would say this:

Week 1: Massive amounts of confusion and uncertainty which translates to people wanting to have as much certainty as they can. Ie. Grocery shopping (without hoarding!), attempting to stick to a sleep schedule and generally, trying to be a responsible person.

Week 2: Netflix binges with friends (and Netflix party), waking up at 10 am, and taking walks (6 feet apart) because you really need to get away from your family for a bit.

Week 3: Maybe that would be a good time to do that thing I’ve been meaning to do for years…actually, watching the Cuomo brothers argue sounds good about now.

Everyone’s new favorite source of entertainment

….And you get the point. A month later, the majority of people have become complacent with their time, even if they started out strong. Quarantine, with its vast amount of time, little to no separation between home life and work life, and the constant stream of news that can be really difficult to sift through, has really been rough on all of us. Not in the sense that it’s particularly strenuous- it’s just a massive shift from what we’re used to.

Our society is built with structures that shape our lives. Kids from ages 5–18 go to school every morning for 7-8 hours. People go to work at their 8–5 job. We all return home to our houses to relax and settle in for the evening. And with that structure pretty much dissolved, where does that leave us?

Floundering for the most part- unable to figure out the proportions of how our time should be spent. To work or just relax? Do I still work out if I don’t have access to a gym, or does the fact we’re in quarantine render that pointless? Is there a point to studying if exams are cancelled or should I use this time to try to get ahead of the material? All these decisions, and the truth is when faced with difficult decisions, it’s easier not to make them at all.

It’s easy enough just to pin the blame on the giant wrench COVID-19 has thrown at us and leave it there. (Of course if you or your family is facing difficulty during this time, ignore this, this isn’t referring to you. Stay safe and I hope you are able to overcome this.) To get comfortable in the weird limbo we’re all in and just be satisfied with filling the time with instant gratifiers like SnapChat, YouTube, or Netflix.

It doesn’t have to be that way though.

The coronavirus and the resulting quarantines are obviously a bad thing, but that doesn’t mean nothing good can’t come from it. Recognize that this is a once in a century type event, but don’t let that be an excuse to become comfortable. Flip it as “this is a once in a century opportunity for me to grow as a person.”

I mean you could feel like this

Instead of reverting to a state of potato-dom (yes you still have to take frequent showers and change that hoodie), remember that thing you said you would do if you had the time? Whether that’s learning a new language or spending more time with family, or catching up on that row of books on your bookshelf, there are things you can do to make the best of the situation and keep growing. Workout your mental muscles, workout your physical muscles, and spend some time pushing yourself forward, so that whenever this pandemic is over and we go back to whatever is normal, you can look back and be satisfied that you took strides forward, rather than standing still.

Key Takeaways:

  • Quarantine and social distancing has the world on standstill, but it doesn’t mean you have to be
  • Wearing your favorite hoodie constantly is NOT your only option
  • Use the time you have now to grow yourself (it will be worth it)

Hi, I’m Hana Samad, an 11th-grade student, and an Innovator at The Knowledge Society. I’m a VR and AR developer with a special interest in AR wearables.

If you’re interested in my progress or have any thoughts or comments about what I’ve written feel free to:

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