3 Lessons I Learned From Quarantine
Reflecting on the past 6 months spent claiming financial support in the middle of a pandemic.
New Brunswick, the province that I live in was the only province around that was hit the least by this pandemic. At the time of writing this, we have had 193 cases confirmed, 189 recovered and only 2 deaths.
The province is second-lowest to P.E.I which has a reported 55 cases, 47 recovered and no deaths. A province that only has a seventh of New Brunswick population.
Overall, the pandemic has only grazed the province, though a lot has happened. A lot of stores closed down, businesses have folded, and many of us were encouraged to stay inside. It’s only now where things have been slowly coming back to normal.
And I like to think that many people are coming out of this with more knowledge and lessons. After all, some people’s behaviour has changed — beyond what COVID-19 has enforced on us to live with — along with myself.
How Memory Can Impact Your Reaction And Actions
Everyone had different reactions to when this pandemic hit of course, but these sorts of reactions are actually quite predictable. Even before this pandemic hit, you could tell to some extent how people would react in these sorts of circumstances.
My cousin and roommate, a generally cautious and calculated individual, followed the guidelines strictly. While these rules were enforced, he still wears a mask when going to crowded areas.
On the other hand, I’ve been more laid back and wear only a mask in a few circumstances. Part of my justification is the fact everyone else is exercising extreme caution and I’ve seen excessive use of sanitization to the point I wonder why.
Again, over the past six or so months, we’ve had close to 200 cases in the province. Most cases I’ve heard stemmed from people further north in the province crossing borders when they weren’t supposed to.
That’s not to say I have less concern over fellow individuals. I’ll wear a mask if it’s required. I’ll still sanitize my hands and only go out when it’s necessary for me to do so. But I’ve strived to have a level headed look at everything and think realistically.
If I were in the States, my attitude would of course be drastically different from my current behaviour.
All of this raises a point though:
The events that you experience and your interpretation of them will determine your own actions and reactions moving forward.
This doesn’t apply only to how people handled the pandemic but to everything else in life.
Call a child stupid and that child will believe they’re stupid for the rest of their lives. Call a child intelligent or special and you can instil great confidence in them for the rest of their lives.
How you look at events now and in the future will shape your reality moving forward. If you’re a big fan of conspiracy theories, you’ll believe in the amount of them swirling about. You’d indulge in them further now since so many people are offering these out all the time since this pandemic emerged.
What sort of financial relief you’ve been getting can determine your spending habits and even your work. It also affects your attitude towards that program. By extension, it also says a lot about your money habits and money mindset.
The crazy thing about these is that even small changes like that can make a big impact. Case and point, even though cases are still very low here, I see people wearing masks all of the time. There are even a few gym members who wear masks while working out that I see on occasion.
So while things are opening back up in most places in the world, it’s important to keep in mind that how you view things moving forward can play a role in a lot of what you do moving forward.
Discovering What You Want Out Of Life
Another key lesson I’ve learned from quarantine is spending time to learn what you want to be getting out of life. Even though I’ve spent little time within quarantine (again, only about 200 cases out of the 130K that Canada has had as a whole), some of that time was spent thinking about what I wanted to do with my life.
I attribute some of this way of thinking to Animal Crossing: New Horizons, a game I’ve been playing extensively and pushes you to have goals or else it’d be a total bore after a few days or so. Getting into the habit of setting goals and working towards them is key for various reasons.
But even more important than that is setting goals that you want to be setting in the first place. Goals that steer you into the life you want to build.
Even though this pandemic has thrown a wrench into many people’s plans, it’s not an excuse to sit back and do nothing about it. Not realizing this sooner for myself cost me a fair bit and set me back further behind from my goals.
However, I don’t see this huge setback as a total loss for myself. It’s allowed me to look at what I value and put together a more concrete plan moving forward.
One thing that has helped me out considerably is determining how much money I want to be making.
Beforehand, I was working without any clear marker for my income level. I kept working and working to the point that the work defined who I was. When you lack that vision of where you want things to be, you can find yourself striving towards that goal and neglecting other parts of yourself.
You want to be maintaining balance in your life and that means knowing where you and your markers are.
In order for all that to happen, it’s best to discover more about yourself, what your interests are and to be hopeful for the future. Even though this pandemic has been rough for many people, you are still around and it’s important for you to keep moving forward to some degree.
Even when you are on your own, take some time now to discover yourself and plan out more of your life in finer details.
If you want to travel at some point, where will you go? Will you stay there for a long time?
If you want to be opening a business, what are you opening? When? What’s your plan with that extra revenue stream?
The more defined a goal is, the more you can talk about it and share it with those around you. This can help you in making things more realistic for yourself and something you can strive for. It’s not just because you told someone else about it, but that because you talked more about it, it’s fresh and clear in your mind.
Have Appreciation For Smaller Things In Life
Due to so many of us isolating ourselves, there haven’t been many opportunities to see big positive changes. With many people not working there’s not as much money, no promotion or salary raises. There may be a handful of people getting a new house here and there, but overall there’s been plenty of lows with not many highs.
This has been the same case for me and it’s pushed me to look at appreciating the smaller things in life.
Even though this pandemic in my area wasn’t as severe, things were still closed down. I used to be out and about on a regular basis and early on I was hardly ever outside.
The times spent going down to the grocery store were literally the highlights of my week.
Once my trainer was offering free training, I showed up to every session without fail. I still maintain that attitude even now since it gets me around other people.
Even though we strive for large bursts of positive moments in our lives, there is nothing wrong with acknowledging and appreciating the smaller parts of our lives more. In fact, I would encourage more people to think this way even after we’ve overcome this pandemic.
As I’ve iterated already, people place so much focus and emphasis on the big changes that people tend to forget about the small things that helped them along the way. Little do they know that the small things make a big difference later on down the road.
Even though this pandemic has brought a lot of negativity to the world around us, there have been smaller things in our lives and at the world at large to make things not so grim. It’s not meant to deny or overshadow all of the pain and loss that’s happened, but it shows that even a little bit of positivity can make a difference and allow us to shine through all of this.
This pandemic has brought a lot of struggle with it, but through that there are lessons to be learned. Some smaller, some that play more significant roles later. What matters most is to not walk away from this with nothing.
The road to self-improvement is all about taking pain — physical or mental — and finding ways to leverage the most from it. This pandemic, no matter how big or small, has made an impact on us. The question now is after all of these months, how are you going to view this pandemic? What do you want to be doing moving forward?