Going out into the city this week, it felt a little bit too normal. I have to admit, the pandemic brought with it a lot of fringe benefits. One of the favorites of city-dwellers is probably the absence of traffic. This week, it felt all too prevalent. If ECQ felt like the roads 20 years ago, with about 80% of traffic reduced, and GCQ probably 40%, this time around, it really feels like only a 10% difference. I still feel blessed to be out in the sun, and grateful for the mobility. Congested roads, however, really make the mobility more of a fantastic idea in theory but something that rarely exists in practice, at least before the pandemic.
I was chatting with a friend recently about how it’s been so easy to just enjoy being alone and not have to make up excuses to not go out when people would want to meet up. For the introverts who have very extroverted friends, I could understand the advantage that the quarantines, curfews, and general restriction of movement afforded these people. And I guess it’s the same for extroverts. I believe I could be considered one, and I know I’ve been so used to whiling life away on hanging out with friends most evenings and weekends that it probably took up most of my life and energy. The isolation that the pandemic brought has really helped me enjoy my alone time, and go back to the things I enjoy doing. It’ been such a great journey to turn inward and have more space for me, be more deliberate in the choice of where and how to spend my time, say no to distractions and unhampered frivolity, and not have to feel guilty about turning people down for a night out. I know these connections are important, too, and I will be a hypocrite if I said I didn’t terribly miss them. But now that things are slowly transitioning to more relaxed hours, movement, and economic activity, are the old habits of choice back too?
I’d have to say that there’s been a noticeable shift in me. After eating dinner during my day of errands, I was deliberating in my head whether I should still indulge a good friend’s invitation to just chill out before going home. I had a good three hours before me before the official curfew would commence, and the old, pre-quarantine me would have squeezed the day out of everything it could possibly offer me. It would have automatically been a yes.
It’s funny how, I really felt that my penchant for saying yes to every invitation has significantly decreased. I couldn’t fathom going another direction and spending what was left of the night just to squeeze out what I could out of my time and availability. That moment, I just wanted to make the most out of where I was, which was engaging and enjoyable on its own, and I didn’t feel the need to transfer to a different venue just to say that I met as many people today and engaged in as many different settings as I could. Funny how this was how I used to be just recently – if, for example, there were three engagements for the night, I would make an effort to go to each one.
It feels both tiring and unnecessary now. I also am happy that curfews have shortened, but I don’t see how I can go back to being out more than the necessary once to thrice in a week (before, I was out more than I was home). Simply envisioning it now feels so exhausting! I can’t imagine how that used to be my life before.
This is a good transition, and how it’s making me think of my life and how I used to spend my time. I’m grateful I get to look at it in many different ways, and make a more conscious decision on how I am to proceed.