Quarantine: The Good, Bad & Ugly

Welcome to our in-depth tutorial for hand-washing best practices. Just kidding!

In trying to imagine what might be a good read right now - the internet’s an emotional rabbit hole for even the most rational among us - we realized that what we’re yearning for is a little less “how to” and more “me too!” We want to know how the people around us are managing their day-to-day behind all those closed doors. 

So, we took a poll among ourselves, our friends and Facebook groups, and asked them to succinctly sum up their quarantine experience so far as 'Good, Bad and Ugly’ and here’s a highlighted version of what we found. We hope you feel some camaraderie and that it brings you a little reprieve.

The Good

We all miss the simple things. It seems there’s nothing like a quarantine to highlight everything we previously took for granted. “I realize and appreciate how awesome life was before now.” Is there a shelf life for gratitude? We hope not. 

The lack of routine and the distilling of priorities has given us a forced look at the healthier lifestyle options we talk about but never adopt. “I have loved that all the “busy-ness” of life has been stripped away.” There’s a shared  admittance that our lives were overscheduled and nobody misses a commute of any kind: we’re universally happy to be out of our cars. We’re meditating, taking online yoga and sleeping a ton (because seriously, there’s just nothing else to do). ”I love that afternoon is the new morning.” We’re getting our zzz’s and finding some zen and we wonder whether we’ll hit the hay and the yoga mat with as much devotion when this is over, or if we’ll go right back to burning the candle on both ends.  We’re New Yorkers so … I don’t give us good odds.

Forced family time - especially for those with children who are teen and college-age - has been a boon: a return to the nest! We’ve swapped out the standard worries (“where are they and what are they doing?”) for the pandemic ones. It’s not a trade-off we’d ever have asked for but a silver lining is a silver lining. 

Technology has given us the tools to feel close despite the physical limitations. Thanks to social distancing and a ton of down time, we’ve reconnected with friends and strengthened those bonds. “My group chats with friends are my lifeline - we come together to fall apart and then go back to being our families’ glue.”  There’s a lot to be said about Zoom happy hours … “I miss being in a real bar but on the other hand, sweatpants.”

The Bad

In our monastic existence, our blessings are also often a curse and parents are exhausted from the sisyphean nature of managing a household of people who can’t go anywhere. “I never stop cooking. Like not for one minute.” Quality time in such quantities is a double-edged sword. “I have NOT LOVED the non-stop eating. My oldest just ate 11 eggs as a snack before dinner.” Really, perhaps the sentiment is best summed by, I am so *#@^&* sick of everything involved with feeding my family!”  Mic drop.

A major take-away from all this: Mother’s Day had better be epic this year. Do dads sense this, we wonder? Hope so, for their sake.

Homeschooling is not something any of the parents in our survey will miss at the end of this. “I can’t stand policing the online schooling and I’m tired of yelling at kids when I walk in a room and see the computer screen quickly flip from a past Final Four game to Algebra 2!”  We suspect the teaching profession has never before been so appreciated before now and that most homeschool fantasies have been quashed.

The Ugly

Some interpreted ugly as the thing that’s shameful, “the ugly truth,” and so those answers revealed our longing for life’s selfish pleasures. We miss our vanities and all the things we used to do to feel pretty - mostly, our hair and our nails - and we wonder if there’s any way that when we come out, the ‘quarantine extreme, all natural look’ will be cool. Right, not likely. “Waxing. Enough said.”  Imagine the beauty service backlog when this is over.

We miss shopping. There, we’ve said it. “It’s pointless to buy new clothes/jewelry for no one to see.” 

And if we weren't neurotic and hypochondriacs before this, we might be now. We’ve all “had it” at some point in the last month, whether or not we actually have. “I convince myself daily that I have Covid-19.” 

The Good + Bad + Ugly

There are several quarantine habits that fall under all three, with ‘under’ being an operative word. We’d love to know how many people could stand up in a Zoom meeting without exposing their sweats or skivvies. Everyone has let their proverbial hair down … as well as a couple of other things. All summed up, for better or worse: no underwire or zippers for over a month.”

People are cooking like they never have before, which is good. They are also, of course, eating like they never have before. “I've discovered a passion for baking I never knew I had. Butter and sugar and chocolate... oh my!”

Loungewear is having a heyday which is both cause and effect of the overeating and we’re predicting a manic surge in gym memberships when this is done. Are we really going to be climbing out of our sweats and into swimsuits? Hoo boy.  “I'm eating everything in my kitchen. It’s going to be ugly trying to fit into my jeans when this is all over.”

Booze has been a good friend to many throughout this time and a lot of us are going to be doing a little internal stock-taking at some point (that’s code for detox). NO judgment here, though (says the writer as she pauses to sip her Oregon Pinot Noir … with breakfast).

Forced family time lands in all three of our categories and we suspect that the proportion is shifting into the Bad and Ugly with each passing week. The family that quarantines together… this could go a lot of ways.

We hope that little dose of soul-bearing helped or, if not, at least distracted you. I need another glass of wine.



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