It goes without saying that these are extremely strange times. Our comfort zones have been turned inside out and and backwards, our sense of normalcy completely eradicated by the chaos of this pandemic. In these trying times, I have realized there is one thing I am extremely grateful for — windows. Windows have served as my distractions.
It seems obvious — windows bring the natural light inside, let you see out into the world and give you a view of something other than your plain bedroom walls. Those things are all very true and necessary in these times where we are mostly stuck inside. It is nice to just stare out the window for a while and take some time to reflect on ourselves, our situations, maybe even things we’re thankful for — though not for too long, of course.
Most, if not all of us, are enclosed in our houses or apartments, leaving only for exercise or grocery store runs — I never thought I would be this excited to see the flourescent lights of my local Harris Teeter, but here we are. When I’m looking out of my windows, I can’t help thinking about how excited I am to go outside or to the grocery store or even to work out. I feel like a little kid pumped for recess.
Some may have better views out of their windows than others. If you live on a beach or can clearly see your neighbor’s freshly pruned lawn from your bedroom window, you have something natural and nice to reflect on. However, even if you live in a busy city and are just looking into your neighbor’s apartment or at a wall of bricks, it’s still a change of scenery.
Having that scenery to look out at while you Zoom into your 9 a.m. or stay up-to-date on your telework helps make it more exciting to go outside for exercise or a grocery run. Though windows also remind us that it is a new day even if they do seem to all blend together.
When these days have been the most difficult for me, I have noticed that it is when I lose track of what day it is. I get caught up in feeling lonely, that these times will never end. I’ve realized that I can get too self-reflective — I have too much time in the same place to dwell on the loneliness that defines these quaran-“times.”
It is in these downward spirals when I then look out my window and can see that it is a new day. Instead of trying to maintain a sense of normalcy, I think what has helped me most has been trying to steer away from the farce that I can have the same routine, do the same work, consistently stay connected with my friends from school. I have been getting by, I think, knowing that every day I can task myself with something that I otherwise wouldn’t have had the time to do at college.
I have tried to stay away from the Zoom happy hours, for example, because it makes me yearn for what I took for granted. I get too caught up in the fact that I want it all back. This pandemic has no set end date — for all we know, this could be the new normal. For those reasons, trying to pretend that everything is as it was has hurt me more than simply trying to make do with the current situation.
So instead I have been trying new things to occupy my time like trying Instagram live exercise classes, doing puzzles — yes, I know I sound like a senior citizen — and attempting to master the guitar. I have tried cooking new meals and rewatching shows and movies that I have always said I wanted to rewatch.
These have been my windows, my new distractions and something else to occupy my time. As much as I want my in-person spring semester back, I have been trying to enjoy the “now.” I’ve developed an embarrassing investment in finding out whether Hannah B. and Tyler C. are dating, reinvigorated my love for “America’s Next Top Model” and realized how bad my coffee addiction actually is — thanks, Grit. I’ve realized that I do not do well with extensive periods of self-reflection and that I make a mean banana bread.
It hasn’t been all bad — and I’m sure everyone now has a newfound appreciation for the state of the world pre-coronavirus. Looking out my bedroom windows while Zoom-ing into my classes has allowed me to think of how I want to spend each new day. I also read some cheesy Facebook posts that said we have always complained about how fast time flies, but now we have been given the chance to slow down. I really like that sentiment.
Especially for college students, we are always told that these four years are gone in the blink of an eye. Although I still think that is true, it doesn’t seem to apply to right now — it feels like time is only getting slower. But I think the slowness of “now” will make me more motivated in the future, to be more adventurous and take the bull by the horns a little more than I had before my life was governed by COVID-19.
The University breeds an environment that is insanely fast and competitive. There are always social events, sporting games, homework and group and club meetings that we are all rushing to do — and now? We are all literally having to take this situation one day at a time. We are having to slow down and enjoy the moment. I kind of love that we are living these cliches, completely unsure of when the end will be and what is to come, but I really do believe that we will get through it. Life will speed up again, but for now — relax, lay back and try to enjoy this slow ride for once. My parting advice? Find your window.