Over the past few weeks, we have been in a state of doing whatever we can to keep busy. Our days are filled up by activities that we would probably never take the time to do if this pandemic never surfaced. I cannot believe I am going on walks “for fun” now.
Saying that it’s odd to be growing up at this time is an understatement. When our grandparents were our age, they saved the world by going to war. I’m saving the world by binge-watching reality TV all day with a plate of nachos in my lap, while occasionally getting up to wash my hands.
In all seriousness though, your priorities change when you have all the time in the world. You start to care about your well-being more, whether by doing an at-home workout or making yourself a nice dinner. If you don’t bake, learn a new dance, play an online game or FaceTime, all that free time feels daunting.
Staying home in retrospect is not that tough a command. In fact, if you were to tell me at the beginning of March that I would get to sleep in every day for the next month, I probably would have been pretty ecstatic.
However, if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, it’s that we do these “bucket list” things, not for the sake of doing them, but because of the distraction it provides from the outside world. We are quite literally living in our own little bubbles. There are times when I selfishly grieve, aching for one more regular day of high school before I graduate or at least one last night out with my friends. Then I see the enormous line wrapped around the local grocery store or footage inside an NYC hospital, and I remember how this situation is really bigger than all of us. It feels so far out of our control, yet at the same it’s all up to us to follow the rules.
Quarantine forces you to re-evaluate your priorities. For me, it is day 36 of self-quarantine and when I’m not bored out of my mind, I have found myself stumbling upon some significant conclusions about existence.
For one, I’ve learned that all you need in life are a few good friends and music. I’m aware that that isn’t a very scientific statement, but the past few weeks have proven it to be true. Let me explain.
If you happen to be like me, being at home doesn’t necessarily make you feel closer to your loved ones. If anything, it’s a wake-up call to just how much you tend to disconnect with them. No one is blessed with a perfectly functioning family. Therefore, friends are very important in a time like this.
The people you choose to be your friend says a lot about you as a person, and before quarantine, you probably took most of them for granted. Friends are a support system, and because they can’t be with you physically right now, quarantine is really the ultimate test of friendship.
That said, a good friend is measured by their ability to hold a conversation during these times. Talking to them should feel like an opportunity, not a burden. I learned who my closest friends are based on the conversations we have. Moreover, I now know I probably couldn’t live without them. It’s true you cannot choose your family, but you can choose your friends.
Although some people might not agree that music should be the second priority for a good life, it’s more about what it represents. In my experience so far, music has been an escape from the outside world and everyday distractions. It has allowed me to re-center my thoughts while I clean my room or go for a run. For others, that distraction might be anything from playing a sport or writing. If quarantine has taught me anything, it’s the importance of escaping “reality” every once in a while and doing something you are truly interested in.
To generalize, a happy life consists of passion and support. What will matter the most is whether we choose to continue building on these two priorities, not just for the next few months, but for our lives.
There is a way for everyone to make the most of their quarantine. I’m not a philosopher by any means, but there is truth in the fact that nothing you do will ever be important unless you give it meaning.
In the meantime, reach out to your friends, spend time with your family, and listen to your favorite albums.
Margaret Korinek is an OPRF High School graduating senior.