The Privilege of Routine

Category: #personal Tags: #pandemic #coronavirus #COVID #socialdistancing #quarantine #stayathome


If you've just woken from a coma and now find yourself unable to make sense of what's going on—or not going on—around you, let me give you a TL;DR explanation: The world's gone to shit in a relatively short amount of time. We all hope our current reality will be temporary, but there's no denying where we are in this moment.

Take a deep breath. Cry if you need to. One more deep breath.

Most of us now have plenty of time to contemplate our pre-quarantine lives. The weekday morning Starbucks runs. Picking up Papa John's simply because we don't feel like cooking on a Tuesday night. Going to a mall on a Sunday afternoon just to get out of the house.

Our first reaction is likely to miss such events. But as time goes on, we may ask how much we needed those comforts, especially the longer we go without them.

Some are making predictions for a post-quarantine world: fewer Starbucks runs, cooking at home more, and perhaps staying at home more in general. Such changes may help to lessen the shock if or when another pandemic strikes.

timelapse of people walking in a mallPhoto courtesy of Anna Dziubinska on Unsplash.com

I'm interested to see how things will shake out once the world starts spinning again. What businesses will survive, and which will close their doors for good? So many on Twitter are calling for others to support local businesses as much as possible. Will this consciousness maintain once we've restored and resumed our busy lives? What will the political implications be? What government restrictions will be enacted or lifted? How will this pandemic shape the conversations around universal healthcare or Universal Basic Income? Will this be the event that reunites us and brings us all back to a sensible center? Will it make us appreciate those we had come to loathe, like our libtard neighbors or our Repubtard bosses?

So many questions. How long will we have to wait for answers? The only thing we can known for certain is that we will see consequences well beyond quarantine.

I spent the first few days of quarantine mourning the death of my routine. I'm still mourning.

2019 was basically my year of building routine. A whole year examining my habits and identifying my priorities and rearranging my day and eliminating wasted activities to make time for what truly matters. I spent the first quarter of 2020 improving what I'd built in 2019.

And then in March all of that came to a halt as a pandemic forced us to adjust to a new normal.

I don't miss my morning and afternoon commutes to and from the office, but I do miss the accompanying certainty of twice a day having at least 30 minutes to listen to music or podcasts or—as I had been practicing for a couple weeks before the call for social distancing—simply driving in silence and practicing mindfulness behind the wheel.

I miss the camaraderie with my co-workers. I miss our jokes and our banter.

I miss going somewhere else only to quickly tire of the place and return to the comforts of home. Though an introvert and a homebody, I was always comforted in knowing that the world was there, waiting for me to join whenever I was ready.

Before the order for social distancing, I saw routine as a necessity. But now I see that in some ways routine is a privilege. After all, to establish a routine is to assume that catastrophe will not come along and disrupt said routine. It is to assume at least a semblance of stability, something we now see none of us can take for granted.