When we first heard of the pandemic, we weren’t too sure about how long it would last. From everything that I’ve read and heard about, this won’t go away so soon. And with nationwide lockdowns, everything has been put on hold, including businesses everywhere. So what would this mean for all of us?
Alone In My Home
Before COVID19 became a full-blown pandemic, it was merely a deadly virus. Businesses were still working hard, but a few had to shut their doors for safety measures. Despite social distancing, everybody still went to work while maintaining the required safety measures. And while we thought we could battle all of this, the virus had other plans.
As we watched China, and then Italy run themselves to the ground, we knew this wasn’t over. It won’t be for a while. So to do our best to flatten the curve, we self-isolated and failed, miserably. Despite the grave situation, companies were still asking employees to come to work. And it made sense for some companies to do so, this led to many people ignoring social distancing norms.
When the government intervened, things changed. What initially was a plea to stay at home for a day turned into 2 weeks. And then a month, and has now been extended, again. This was a very important step, but many people were suddenly concerned about the economy of the country. A valid concern, but it wasn’t a welcome thought since most wanted to break out of the government-induced lockdown. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same people who wouldn’t want to go to work before the pandemic broke out.
However, I’m not here to judge anyone for their choices. I might probably judge my own. But I wanted to talk about how this pandemic has affected most of us.
Never Knew Lonely
The government-induced lockdown wasn’t sudden, but we sure weren’t able to adapt to it. However, one of the many changes being, companies forced to shut their doors. With everything online, more people were working from home. Not only were the doors to your office shut, but Earth also had to be rebooted.
And when I realised that our lives as we knew it had ceased to exist, I had to put things into perspective. I’d recently joined the freelancing scene, and despite starting small, things were great. I got to stay home, do what I love, and got paid for it. It was somewhere around this time where my friend Pronoy and I were recording for our podcast as well.
With the lockdown, the bed became my new favourite spot. Due to the situation, I stopped getting as many jobs, and that further pushed me into this weird mood. Like I mentioned in ‘Anxiously Spiraling Out Of Control’, I slowly realised that the lockdown had been converted into some kind of race by everyone stuck at home. There were memes about Introverts rejoicing, and extroverts slowly losing their minds.
However, I was losing my mind over something else. I couldn’t help but feel like shit as I watched a routine I’d just set up slowly unravel right in front of me. This may seem like such a small thing, but I have always had difficulty sticking to one particular routine. And even though I enjoyed writing, I always stuck with it for a month. After which, I completely forgot about it and moved on. This time though, I wanted to stick with it. And I did for a bit, but then I just couldn’t do it anymore.
But what has this got to do with the situation in hand?
Hide In Your Shell
I don’t know if I should even complain about ‘minor’ issues like this, but I couldn’t deal with the pressure of this rat race. I simply struggled with the idea of potentially picking up a new skill and failing at it.
I’m not too sure if I should even complain about ‘minor’ issues like this, with all my privilege and stuff. But I couldn’t deal with the pressure of a rat race. The idea of potentially failing at a new skill has been something I’ve always struggled with.
But that wasn’t the case with everyone else. As the lockdown progressed, more Zoom screenshots made their way onto my Instagram. Business meetings, weekly office hangouts, tuitions, college lectures, and more. It was as if everyone and their mother was on it. Technically, that was true, because my mother has Zoom meetings more than anyone I know!
But oddly, even that made me feel terrible. It felt like everyone was doing something during this quarantine. Some were baking banana bread, while the others were putting in more hours than they did before the quarantine. So what did that mean for me?
I’m not the only freelancer in the world, that would be impossible. But I knew that as a freelance writer, I had more leeway for working from home. However, I knew some people whose freelance life had come to a complete standstill. Their profession required them to be out on the field, so all they could do was stay home and hope for this to go away as quickly as possible.
But here’s what I’ve realised during this quarantine. Even though the lockdown prevents us from leaving our houses, and rightfully so, we don’t have to confine ourselves to just that. We can now truly focus on refining our already existing skills but push to adding a few more to our portfolio. Maybe that’s why I keep writing and posting on this blog. Don’t get me wrong I love doing what I do. But if I didn’t keep writing, I know I’m going to be so rusty. I partially helped with a few images for the podcast, but Pronoy did most of it. However, that pushed me towards paying more attention to images and how I can make them better. I help with my aunt’s Instagram, a baking page that allows me to work on content specifically for that.
I’m also trying to stay on top of trends, just so I can mould my content and figure out what works best for you, my audience. My blog has always been about content that I love writing about, but I changed that up to make it more topical. And while that did work, I couldn’t keep up with it. However, with trial and error right now, I’m still trying to figure out the right balance between topics that you and I can both enjoy.
And that’s exactly what a lot of people are doing. An acquaintance is a freelance photographer who also held food photography workshops before the pandemic. He now holds them over Zoom, and they’re just as helpful. Pronoy is great at a lot of things, but along with getting better at skills he already had, he also went ahead and created a whole website, from scratch. I know a few of my friends who write, work and create fun content for their Instagram, and that works for them. But you don’t have to turn this into a rat race either. We’re all doing our best, and learning new things, or focusing on the old, at our own pace.
But is this enough?
While we have finally settled into this quarantine life, quite a few of us are hoping for things to go back to ‘normal’. But if we’re going to be real, normal is nothing but a distant memory now.
There might come a time where we can leave our houses again, but things will not be the same. As Mumbaikars, we’re so used to travelling in overcrowded trains. But trains won’t be as crowded for quite a while, the same applies to workspaces. A full workspace may not be the norm soon, and we might have to work shifts. We might not be able to get into buses that might otherwise seem empty, and we might not be able to visit restaurants and bars either.
Normal isn’t going to be a reality for quite a while, but that doesn’t mean we have to stop. We just have to be careful, that doesn’t mean our routines have to change. Not long ago, we would love to stay back and simply work from home. But now, working from home doesn’t feel the same.
Believe it or not, but social distancing is here to stay. Not only because the government asks us to, but because even though it may seem like it, the pandemic won’t be gone. More safety measures, different work etiquettes, and a completely different work environment is something all of us can look forward to.
Is that going to change how most of us work? No. The few of us who can work from home might continue to do so. However, the few that get to get back in the field? They are going to have to rethink every single strategy they’ve implemented so far.
What have you been doing differently during the pandemic? What’s the first thing you want to do post-lockdown? Do you work from home? Is Zoom an integral part of your life now? How long have you been in isolation for? Let me know in the comments! And if you enjoyed this content, you can find more of my work here!