Life during a pandemic is like going for a run on a treadmill.
When you run on a treadmill time passes, you go a distance. You burn calories. You sweat. When you are done you have done something, and yet, you are exactly in the same place as when you started.
Life in the pandemic has been eerily similar. Time has passed. We’ve accomplished many things. We’ve done things that have been on our to-do list for years, and we’ve made new discoveries. In reality, we may have been more productive in the last three months than we were in all of 2019. Yet there is this restless feeling of nothing happening. We see the things that we have done just like we see, on a treadmill display, the distance we have gone. But it doesn’t feel the same. The feeling of accomplishment is dulled.
The saying: “Distance makes the heart grow fonder,” comes to mind. Perhaps movement and distance make the brain efficiently satisfied. I have done such a stack of things I should be ecstatic. Me, the productivity princess, have leveled up to task completer queen consort. But I don’t have this feeling of a job well done. I don’t feel relieved that things are off my list. I just have this insatiable urge to look around and say: “Now what?”
At the time of originally writing this, it’s Saturday at 3:20 in the afternoon. I have gone for a bike ride, called my parents, prepped dinner items that need to chill and marinate. I have made ice cream batter and churned a batch of gelato. I have made tea and done the dishes. The laundry is completed. The house is clean. I have painted and read. I now sit here wondering what in the hell am I supposed to do-particularly when I’m done scribbling this.
It’s such an odd time because I’ve done so much and yet I feel that I’ve done so little because I’m in the same place I started, and having so much time to still pass, my brain thinks I couldn’t possibly have been productive.
I don’t like running on a treadmill and while I like working from home, I don’t like pandemic quarantines. They, like running on a treadmill, have a purpose of which I can appreciate and make myself perform when necessary but are a poor substitution for the real deal of living life and running outdoors.
I know that officially lockdown has come to an end. Restaurants are opening as well as salons and other less essential places of business, but I know we aren’t out of the pandemic woods yet. As bored as I periodically find myself, I can’t bring myself to take these re-entry steps yet. And so, like I do on blustery wintry mornings, I will continue on the treadmill of life for a bit longer.