With the pandemic taking away most of the hustle and bustle of the city life, you’d think time would pass by a bit more slowly. All the possible diversity that could happen in the day has been taken away – no more random lunches with friends who are happening to pass by the area, no more pit stops at friends’ houses who are near a meeting I had to go to, no more of the dinners and nightcaps that used to fill life with so much color to the point of saturating the whole space actually. And it’s not just the recreational activities – even work activities that would take me to the field, have me run an errand, or meet with different people instead of stay at the office – I always thought it was these exciting, unpredictable, variety-giving happenstances that would make the day feel oh so short.
So it doesn’t quite make sense to me now how I feel like it’s such a surprise to glance at the clock and notice how it’s already midday even as I wake up at quite a reasonable hour (8 to 9 am on the weekdays, sometimes earlier), and then after eating with my family at dinner time, that the day is almost about to end. I sit on my desk for most of the day and actually have to remind myself to get up and walk around after a few task or after a few minutes – sometimes it’s the pain in my butt or back that serves as enough of the reminder. But then no matter how steady and seemingly more predictable life has been now, it’s still passing by so quickly.
It’s also crazy how it’s already October – this madness started in mid-March, so it’s about to reach its seven-month mark. I can’t believe how this new life already seems normal – and the old life of frolicking about whenever we would so desire seems like such a distant memory. I know a lot of people are longing for the old normal to go back. I do too. I miss running errands and not having to be reminded of the “potential risks”. I miss having to go back to the house when I forget something important like my house keys or my ID or my sunglasses – instead of my mask or face shield (this has happened recently). I also don’t like how I just saw in the news how millions of people are facing hunger now because of this.
There are parts of the old normal that I don’t miss, however. I don’t miss flailing around and answering urgencies and putting out fires every day of the week till it’s the weekend and I just have to be booked for it to be worth it. I don’t miss the directionless me that used to say yes so easily to friends wanting to hang out because it was so easy and it took me out of the drab of duty – and I just enjoyed it a lot, too. Time used to pass by so quickly then for those reasons. Now, I get to more consciously choose what I spend time on and it still feels like it’s too quick. But maybe the quickness, or maybe more accurately, the feeling of this quickness, doesn’t matter. Maybe my being more present to the choice – of what to do and how I spend my time every moment – is what does.