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  • Writer's pictureFrida Sternbach

How to Know if You’ve Been Making the Most of Your Time in Lockdown

Updated: Jun 2, 2020

Humans tend to have an incredibly short memory. We long for the beach while preparing for a snow storm, and then we complain about the heat and humidity in the summer, listening to Christmas music to forget about the sweat (that might just be me, please don't judge). Although right now you’re longing for freedom and productivity, it’s important to acknowledge that you’re probably already making the best use of this time without even knowing it. Allow me to show you: 

You’ve been making good use of your time if you discovered (or rediscovered) your love of cooking, whether you’re great at it or not so much. Bonus points if you now enjoy wearing that silly apron that someone gave you as a joke. *Pictures of me in my flowery apron available upon request.* I know, I can’t believe it either. 

You’ve been making good use of your time if you bought a kayak online and took your surgical mask to the sea. (Any body of water works, really. I’d be thrilled to just jump in a puddle.) If you tied a tightrope to the two trees in your parents’ back yard and fell so many times you've smelled like grass for the last two weeks. 

If you’ve scheduled Zoom calls and reconnected awkwardly with random people from your childhood that you hadn’t talked to in a hundred years but for some reason still followed on social media. If you got to revisit a different phase of your life. If you remembered how much they meant, so you didn’t mind the eye strain and sore neck from the 4-hour conversation. 

If you reevaluated what is really “essential” in your job. Bonus points if your answer was the people. If you got to appreciate the tasks that you really enjoyed doing. Or if you realized that it might be time to change where you are. Take the next step, move forward, move sideways, put your left foot in, put your left foot out, shimmy right out of where you might be stuck. 

If you didn’t kill your roommate, or whoever you’re quarantining with. I’d say that’s always a good use of your time. 

If you’ve been trying to control the incessant fear of uncertainty by baking banana bread. Or baking with yeast for the first time in your life. Knead the anxiety away. Bread? Yep. Babka? Totally worth the 9-hour process. Sourdough starter? Welcome to parenthood. 

If you came up with a dozen creative ways to kill that one coworker that keeps eating and chewing into the microphone during video calls. Unless you’re actually googling how to get rid of a body – that’s probably not the best use of your time. Have you considered cross-stitch embroidery? 

If you became friends with your neighbor and it turns out she isn’t a bitch after all! She’s even having you over for risotto “once this is all over.” Nothing bitchy about risotto. 

If you‘ve been shoving your couch into the kitchen to make enough space for your online yoga class, and it's now a normal part of your daily routine. If you’re trying a different routine everyday, which completely defeats the purpose of a routine. Doesn’t matter, nothing does. “Be who you want to be” - Barbie 

If you created good new habits, like reading, or making your bed, or brushing your teeth (really? It took a pandemic?), or meditating, or going out for walks, or talking to yourself — just me again on that one? K, then. 

If you launched a project or got started on that idea that’s been in the back of your mind for years (like this one!). Also if you thought about it and realized that that one idea was never really going to work. Don’t beat yourself up — Pants for Cats did sound good in your head! Keep ‘em coming. 

If you got to reconnect with a pet, even though they still don’t understand why you’re in their house all day. If you took the proper time to say goodbye to a pet, even though we know there’s never enough time. 

If you’ve been exercising outside, and were reminded once more of the privilege it is to jog in your neighborhood (or ask for help, or get pulled over, or go bird watching, or be asleep in your own home) and not be afraid you might get killed. If you’ve been having meaningful conversations about racism and what it might mean to live in constant fear of the people that are supposed to protect all of us. If you made decisions of what to do to change that.

If you looked at old birthday cards. If you taught your grandma how to use Zoom. If you reorganized your den, or at least thought really seriously about it. You’ll get to it. I trust you. If you watched five new TV shows and made progress on your ever-growing movie list, but also if your list of movies just keeps getting longer, and you rewatched that one show for the hundredth time. Going back to Stars Hollow, Central Perk, Seattle Grace Hospital, or Dunder Mifflin counts as going home. 

If you think this is sounding a little like a “stop and smell the flowers” post, then look at you go! 10 points for Gryffindor! You’re very perceptive – that’s exactly what this is. Think about it. This is the only time in our lives we will get to unapologetically slow down. Looking out the window for a half hour with a cup of coffee in hand is encouraged. 

Our tendency will be to try to make up for productive time lost. So I invite you to, for now, own how much you enjoy vacuuming thoroughly and then walking barefoot around the house. Take in the fact that you’re even thinking about such small details. You’re not losing your mind, you’re adapting to the circumstances. Isn’t that cool? 

PS: Feel free to come back to read this as many times as you need. There's time.

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