"Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”
Type this quote into Google and you’ll find a treasure trove of internet arguments and infodumps aiming to correct the record as to where exactly it originated. Most people, however, know it from the 1980 song Beautiful Boy composed by John Lennon. In the song, it serves as part of a lullaby, but it seems to fit snugly into the mental space of our current pandemic-driven world.
For the past several weeks, we’ve had a plethora of self-defence techniques driven through our skulls. Wear your masks, wash your hands, keep your distance, scrub down anything and everything that comes through our doors. The best way to defend yourself right now, however, is simply to stay inside. Isolate.
Get in your bubble and stay there.
Staying inside can pose its own dangers, though.
One of the primary concerns people have had over the last few weeks of isolation has been staving off loneliness. Even when you live with other people, it can be a withering experience to close oneself off completely from anyone that lives more than a short stroll away. What I’ve found more disturbing, though, is the sense of being disconnected from time.
For the first few weeks of quarantine, I did essentially nothing. Like many others, the initial flow of my experience in isolation was:
Nab Supplies ----> Chill ----> Chill Some More ----> Finally Watch Contagion ----> Wow, That Was Made Almost Ten Years Ago? ----> Nab Supplies ----> Chill.
My Groundhog Day had begun, and I could tell from even brief snippets of online contact with those beyond the bubble that I wasn’t alone in this.
There’s a temptation to think of this current period of isolation as a sort of interval in our lives. It can definitely feel that way. No meeting with friends, no going in to work, no window shopping, no quick coffees or long walks. Even if working from home is keeping you somewhat busy, it’s not quite the same. The response to this, for many, has been to think about what they’ll do when the pandemic is behind us and we can move freely again. But what’s happening now is still life, and what we do now is still important.
Now is the perfect time to get started on the things you’ve always wanted to do. There are a multitude of websites offering courses and qualifications at heavy discounts. Nobody can begrudge you for dominating the living room for an hour or so with aerobics or yoga – after all, where else are you going to do it? All those people you’ve wanted to reach out to but never found time for are just a few clicks away, and they’re probably just as eager to talk to someone as you are. Alternatively, if you’ve been wanting after some time alone to think, this is pretty much it.
However you spend your time, what happens to you right now is always your life, and it’s always worthwhile. It’s never on hold and it’s always very much yours.