A Few Things That I Picked Up During COVID Quarantine in 2020 –– Up Close and Personal
If you have been following this blog for some time, then you know that I do this every year. I look back on the previous year, see how I have grown and changed. Last year was a little different due to COVID, but your girl still prevailed and managed to pick up a few things during COVID quarantine in 2020.
Before writing this post, I have been thinking for some time maybe I should just skip 2020 since 2020 hasn’t been the most exciting or positive year, personally. Then again, after giving it a good thought, who is really having the time of their lives in 2020 anyways? (I mean, yes, I am sure a few people did. But for the rest of us, we were all sitting at home and eating ice cream in our jammies for months.)
Plus, starting from 2020, I have promised myself that I will be more honest and open with you, dear readers, instead of just showing you my highlight reel most of the time. And how would one do that, might you ask? Well, the answer is surprisingly simple.
Just start. All I needed to do was to start writing. Eventually, it will all flow out of me and into this blog that is lodged a small corner of the internet somewhere. And that is enough.
*Please be noted that I know that I am lucky to not have to worry about finances, keeping a roof on my head, and food on the table. I am not by any means trying to minimize other people’s struggles during these times. This is simply me documenting my 2020 and meant to be consumed for entertainment purposes only.
A Few Things That I Picked Up During COVID
Well, what do you know, slam the world with a dangerous virus that is easily transmittable by air and all of a sudden life change like pre-COVID life never existed before. The first thing that I remembered feeling when COVID started spreading fast in the country I’m currently in, I felt ecstatic (as fucked up as that sounded). For one, I finally got to stay home all the time and just rest––prior to that, I was quite literally paying monthly rent just to sleep, shower, and poop. I barely even had the time to cook and feed myself at home, that was how often I was out of the house.
I was happy about the fact that I could finally slow down, by a lot. Not only that, the whole world is doing it with me. Yes, COVID was scary but the fact that we’re all in this together evoked a certain type of emotions that’s hard to describe in words. Oh, and of course, there were that short few weeks where everyone was hoarding food supplies and necessities that it felt like we’re in an apocalypse, but that’s just childish me talking.
Everything was fine and dandy for the first few months. I was doing quite okay with staying at home. I had enough to entertain myself for a good while. However, it started to build up. I realized just how empty of a life I have been living pre-COVID. I was chasing that green paper, so much so that I have been abandoning my social relationships––either burning down bridges or just letting it rot and fall apart without trying to fix it. There were a few times, a few months into quarantine where I needed someone––anyone––to talk to, but I had no one.
1. Reaching out, making friends
This is the first thing that I picked up. I tried from making online friends (and keep them) and then slowly but surely moved towards trying to make more friends in real life. It wasn’t easy––I mean, anything worth it is never easy––but definitely worth the time and investment that I put in it.
Pre-COVID I was in a mindset where people are all just a means to an end. I was my own castle and my own knight, and no one should ever come close enough to be able to hurt me. I kept everyone at an arm’s length––still do, actually––but at least now I am making an effort to let a few of my close friends in. None of this is healthy, I understand, but hey, baby steps right? Rome was not built in a day too.
Now, I have a few close friends that I talk to daily as well as others who I hang out with every once in a while. I find that I am definitely happier now compared to me a year ago.
And life goes on. COVID was still ravaging the world, but now we have a better understanding of it and case numbers were trending down. Things started to open up again and I started to get busy too. With work, school, taking care of myself. Well, the latter was in for a particularly “fun” time. For the longest time, despite me claiming that I am an “independent woman” who needs no man, it turned out that had been a lie.
Every time I had been single, I wasn’t exactly working on myself and enjoying being on my own, but I was simply just waiting and floating around until my next partner-to-be came into my life so that I can pour all my love and attention into him. Again, not a very healthy mindset. So then, around mid-2020, I broke up with my then-boyfriend (now ex), and as you can already guess, my whole world came crashing down (as one’s does during a break up).
I cried, a lot. And cried some more. I wasn’t in the right mindset and coupled with school courses and the pressure for me to keep accepting jobs––any job offers that come my way––
because I am seeing so many people out there losing their jobs and I shouldn’t be an ungrateful prick by rejecting job offers and that you get the point. I was spreading myself very, very thin. A part of it was due to COVID and a part was to distract me from the breakup. The signs were there, it was there long before it hits but, of course, I ignored it, and my reward for that?
Anxiety attacks and suicidal thoughts.
2. Seeing a therapist
Coming from an Asian family, I grew up with the mindset that the only people who see a therapist are either lunatics or….lunatics. Normal people don’t really do see a therapist, my parents drilled into my head. Because really, what can you talk with a therapist that you cannot talk with a friend or family member?
Well. For one, I don’t think if I went to my parents and tell them that I have thoughts about jumping in front of a moving train or a speeding car that would go down well. I was very very very resistant at first to the idea of seeing a therapist, but my anxiety got to the point where I couldn’t even do schoolwork or work without feeling on the verge of tears because of the pressure that I was feeling from myself and from others.
So I went. And I talked it out with my therapist and we worked through a plan together on what to do if I have another episode like this again. I must say––obviously I don’t know how true this is––but really, sometimes, all we wanted is to be listened to and accepted without any judgment. It sounded simple, but like many things, this is one of the things that is easier said than done, unfortunately.
3. A meditation session a day, a doctor away
Another thing I picked up during COVID quarantine, meditation. It has seriously does wonders to my emotions. Before, I would be someone who was very emotional. To an extent, I prided myself for it, the fact that I listened to my heart instead of my head––for whatever reason. However, when my emotions started to take over my life and I began to lose control over my own actions because of just how consumed I was by my own feelings, I knew I needed to make a change or else I wouldn’t like who I’d become.
At first, I did it twice to three times a day because, at the time, I really needed more meditation sessions to calm my turbulent emotions. However, once things started to go into a rhythm and became more stable, I meditated once a day before bed. Sometimes it’s a guided meditation, others I just sit there and let my thoughts run wild while I concentrate on my breathing.
It is truly remarkable to see how something as simple as breathing in and out for 10-20 minutes a day could change the way I perceive the world. Obviously, I wouldn’t force anyone to start meditating, however, if you feel like you’re going through a lot or are under a lot of pressure, maybe try to give it a try and see if it helps you feel a tad bit calmer.
It feels like all we’ve been talking about is the serious adult stuff until now. Let’s change the gloom and doom pace a bit, and look at the other more creative things that I picked up in 2020.
This is in the same vein as meditating, and very similar to blogging actually. It is just that I could get more personal with the things that I wrote in my journal. It was quite difficult to open up at first because I continuously worry that someone will hack into my phone and read all my deepest thoughts. But once I’ve gotten past that way of thinking, I am able to freely express myself in my journal.
From random thoughts, things that were bothering me, to just boring daily activities. I write for as long and as short as I desire and stop when I don’t feel like I have anything else to add. One thing that I do a little differently since my journal is in an app on my phone, I have made it a mission of mine to add a picture to each journal entry. It has made journalling so much more fun and had made me want to go out to explore my city so that I could take fun pictures to put into my journal. Two birds with one stone, baby!
(photo creds: literaturesandmovies.com)
5. Blanket making
This started off as a project that I wanted to do just because, and also the fact that I was streaming on Twitch for a little while and wanted something to do. But then, I got quite competitive and stubborn, therefore pushed on despite me hating the whole crocheting-a-giant-blanket process. Now that I can see the finish line, it has just been a lot more relaxing and less rush-y as I start to enjoy it more.
(photo creds: literaturesandmovies.com)
I guess what all of this is telling you is that making a blanket is like going through puberty all over again. My advice? Don’t. Or make a baby blanket and don’t be an egghead like me and set your first crocheting project to be a blanket as big as a queen-sized bed.
6. Painting, acrylic
I have really been picking up a lot of creative hobbies during 2020’s COVID quarantine now looking back. But yes, your girl also started to paint. Mind you, I am still no good and can paint as well as Patrick can but hey, I enjoyed it and I had a lot of fun while painting.
(photo creds: literaturesandmovies.com)
That’s all that matters no?
7. Tap tap tap. Do you hear that piano sound?
Yes, another one from the collection of the things that I did––and am still doing––in COVID quarantine. To be quite honest, learning how to play the piano is something that I have been wanting to do for a while now. But for some reason, I was always either too busy or too scared to start. When I was looking at all these amazing pianists, all I see was people who have put decades of their life into playing the piano. I guess the fact that I had to commit so much time to it scares me. Topped with the worry that since most people started learning piano when they were kids and I started when I’m already in my 20s.
So I tried to make it easy for myself. The word “try” is our best friend. I would find a teacher, and just give it a try. If I don’t like it after the first lesson, then I am free to drop the class altogether. No pressure. So with that in mind, I went and gave it a try. And what do you know? It has been 3 weeks since I first started learning how to play the piano and now I can already semi play Blackbird by the Beatles on the piano.
Okay, I think that sums up all the things that I picked up during the 2020 COVID quarantine. Now looking back, despite how wild of a year it had been, I am actually quite proud of myself for the things that I tried and exposed myself to in the year 2020. Despite it being a bumpy year for me––as well as so many people out there––I am still very happy that I made the most out of it and tried everything that came to mind from painting to piano learning to meditateing.
If I really had to pick a word that summed up my 2020, it would be: “try”. Yes, things could look scary at times, you might feel like you’re not equipped or ready for it. But that is just how life is, we’re never ready for it. Each and every single one of us were living our best non-existent life before suddenly being pushed out into a world of chaos and sounds and colors, crying. But look, we survived. We make do, we improvise. That’s just how life is.
Remember, if you don’t try, you’ll always live in the what-ifs.
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