Finding Quietude in Quarantine
These past three weeks have been the most turbulent of my life; plans canceled, packing up and moving across the country on a moment’s notice, a constant fear of infection and infecting.
And yet, my problems are minute in comparison to those of the newly-unemployed, the grieving, the nurses, the doctors, and the infected. I cannot begin to imagine the pain and chaos that surrounds this time for them; my mother is a nurse and my father is a doctor — simultaneously, my admiration and worry for them grow by the day.
This virus has affected all of us in some way or another, paradoxically uniting us under a common situation while forcing us to physically separate and withdraw.
It seems that as we shutter our windows to the outside world, distancing ourselves from the places we know and the people we love, we are presented from every angle with what is known: infection counts, mortality counts, unemployment rates, economic rates. Every channel is a constant stream of foreboding coverage that hints at the unknown we have all internalized and ask: when will this end? How will this end? What will society, the economy, my life look like once we see this through?
The combination of the known and the unknown during this time weighs heavily over us all. In this time of unprecedented stress, my mind often wanders to the stories that comforted me as a child. My mind turns to Atlas, the sky-bearing titan. At least Atlas knew what he was carrying on his shoulders; the sky never increased in size as he carried it. For us, every day brings more confusing, heavy news. And with it, more unknowns.
But somehow, in a manner so inconsistent with the uncontrollable and somber situation that surrounds us, during this time of distancing I have felt closer than ever to the people I love.
This is how I got there.
On March 8th, I returned to my university’s campus from Spring Break. During the day of March 9th, classes resumed as usual, unbeknownst to thousands of students that by the evening of March 11th, classes would be moved to entirely virtual and they would have to vacate all campus housing within four days. Word spread that students on-campus…