I’m aware of how insensitive this may sound, but quarantine and isolation seemed to be a perfect opportunity for me. Of course, I hated that lives were being lost and people’s jobs and families were being irreversibly affected, but as somebody who has struggled with being an introvert their entire life, the prospect of being mandated to stay at home brought me joy, not fear. All my life my parents had always persuaded me to go outside and surround myself with other people. They encouraged me to talk to new people and make friends, organizing sleepovers and playdates since I was a little girl. Both of my parents are social butterflies. Before the pandemic, they constantly entertained people at our home, which I tried to avoid with excuses— like being too busy with homework. I don’t blame them for pushing me to become more extroverted— I’m sure it was hard to understand my introverted nature. I could tell they found it difficult to comprehend my dread at making small talk or having to unnecessarily interact with people for the sake of politeness.
I hoped being in isolation might help my family and the few friends I had see things from my perspective and maybe even appreciate the joy of being immersed in personal interests with no distractions. I knew there was so much suffering going on out in the world, so I tried to keep an optimistic mindset, choosing to believe that this quarantine would bring about the opportunity for others to see how isolation can lead to self-discovery and self-progress. I thought isolation could also be a time of self-reflection, but to them, it meant endless boredom and moping around. They constantly complained about feeling lonely and not being able to socialize and see their friends. For me, being alone gave me the time to fix things, take up a hobby, start a bullet journal, or finally get around to doing something that’s been on my wishlist. I was saddened to see that quarantine didn’t hold the same prospects for others.
Things started to look better several weeks into self-isolation. My parents realized that wishing for things to change wouldn’t accomplish anything, so they began to look for things to do, ways to keep themselves busy. Slowly, I saw my parents start getting around to finishing things they had always meant to complete but never had the time to do. My mom finally repainted the master bedroom and rearranged some furniture, and my dad who always used to travel for his job, started to take up cooking again. It was so fun to help my mom remodel her room and be a test subject for my dad’s newfound recipes. I came to understand that because we see the world, people, and socializing in such different ways and we also get joy and peace from different things. Even so, that doesn’t mean that we are incapable of connecting with one another and adapting to new environments.
Written by: Debi Chakrabortti