I’m enjoying quarantine quite a bit.
Well, that vast understatement — I’m enjoying “The Great Pause” more than just about any time of my adult life. Without the daily rigors of capitalism, I’m free to spend my time however I’d like. It’s ushered in a kind of peace and focus that’s all to rare in our ordinary, daily life.
Just today, I had a bath. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a bath as an adult male, and now I’m wondering why it’s not more common. Not only did I have a bath, but I had a bath drawn for me, by my incredible girlfriend.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had a proper bath, but it’s quite the experience. When I say she drew me a bath, I don’t mean she put hot water into the tub and walked away, as I certainly would have done. She drew me a bath, as a craftswoman would, deep knowledge of expertise on display.
She added salts and soaps and scents, turning mere tap water into a chemist’s concoction of relaxation and delight. Sitting in the steaming water, my skin tingled to the sensation of the cleansing elixir, my nose seemingly running through a boundless meadow of floral arrangements.
Artificial light was fully replaced by well placed candles — including a candle in the other room with the sink. At first, that addition seemed to be more effort than effect, but from my limited perspective, what would have just been a dark room in a doorway came to life, dancing shadows cast on every wall around me. When all was ready, a bath bomb fizzled out of existence around me.
Every detail was minded, and for more than an hour, the world out side those walls ceased to exist at all, save for all of the reminders of my girlfriend’s magic, who sat on the other side of those walls, yet unaware of my profound appreciation of her.
In that moment, my life was nothing short of perfect. For most of the quarantine, in fact, I’ve felt like I’ve been living at or near that rarely found range ‘practically perfect’. Or, more clearly, totally perfect, practically speaking.
But my situation is far more favorable than millions of people during this quarantine. Though certainly not financially stable, I had enough in savings to get through 2 months rent and basic expenses; with federal assistance imminent, my risk of ruin is small enough I don’t notice.
I live in Florida, where the weather is also ‘practically perfect’, maybe even a touch too warm in the days. This turns my simple backyard patio into something of a subtropical retreat. Evenings with a book, some music, and a cigar are among the finest I can picture.
And, most notably, I live with a woman I love. So much so, that spending endless days limited to 1,600 square feet fills me with happiness; I struggle to find tiny, abrasive annoyances, even if a touch of cabin fever compels me to look for them. Partnered in everything, from supplies, to travel, to entertainment, we’ve not had a single moment where tensions rubbed the wrong way. I recognize how rare that must be, and I stop to fill myself with gratitude as often as I can for this.
Hopefully you are doing as well as I am, or even close. If you are, I ask you a favor: check in on those of us who may not be doing as well.
Many lost their income very suddenly, and with so few Americans possessing any substantial savings, their financial stresses are higher than they’ve ever been.
Many live in places with terrible weather, making their own houses something of a prison with familiar picture frames, or filled with a sudden influx of children, each of their energies resonating off of captive walls, seemingly amplified by the slow passing of time.
And many live alone, without a person to share this quiet time with. It is not to be overlooked that, time and time again, psychologists find that the worst thing that can happen to a human mind is to be starved of human interaction. Suddenly those with happy social structures and habits find themselves in a bizzare form of solitary confinement; the world looks like it always has, but feels unimaginably colder and more distant.
And perhaps, most cruel, at a time when many are suffering more than they ever have, they are forced to do so in silence, social distancing leaving them to little more than their own thoughts.
So check on one person. Then another. Check on a half dozen people, every day.
It doesn’t take long, and it doesn’t take much. Use our social networks as we hoped they could be used in — to connect with people that fall just outside of your regular circles. We surely all have hundreds, if not thousands, of connections on social media. To reach out to just five a day would take less than five minutes.
“Hey! I hope you’re doing well, I know this quarantine can be tough for some of us, and I just wanted to drop you a line to see if you were doing well!”
Or, if you have business contact, “Hi [NAME], I’m just reaching out to my network to make sure we’re all doing alright out there. I hope you and yours are all doing well!”
The truth is, is doesn’t even matter what you say. Just the act of reaching out, of connecting, is more than anyone would have done for them today.
I’ll admit — I’ve not done this as much as I should. But I’m going to commit to it, because I believe this is one of life’s rare opportunities when simple efforts can make a massive difference.
(A secret? I don’t think those opportunities are actually that rare — I think the best way to make a massive difference is commitment to simple efforts.)
Reach out. Make sure everyone is doing okay. And hopefully, if we all start, and you’re not doing so great, you’ll see just how many people are aware of you out there.
Much love. #BeKind ❤