How I Am Surviving the Quarantine

Hi friends.

How are you all doing?

It’s been an interesting time to say the least, and as we’re more than a month into quarantine, I thought I’d take a step back to reflect and see how this past month has been.

Since my last blog post (The End of a Decade and Twentyseven), my life seems to have taken a complete 180. I was riding on the wave of 2020 with a newfound energy, excitement and my twenty-seventh year, until that momentum just seemed to take a halt. COVID-19 hit. The whole world was in a panic. I was on an absolute high of feeling at complete peace and anticipation of some new musical pursuits. Everyone I knew was either worried, freaked out, or completely oblivious.

What, we’re supposed to not see each other? Wait, restaurants are closing down? Oh, people are losing their jobs? Wait, everyone is losing their jobs? Wait, no one is supposed to leave their homes?! Wait, should I see my friend or not and should I get mad at my friend who isn’t following these rules?

It’s been a huge cluster f**k.

When it isn’t so black and white. (Photo: Helen Jung | @jung_hakyun)

I have to say, if I hadn’t experienced a year of unemployment to get used to being in my own company, wandering aimlessly, and doing the real inner work to heal parts of myself that needed attention during that time, I probably would not have been able to handle this period of time as well as I have.

Weirdly enough, I’ve found some peaceful calm throughout this all. I’ve been taking a liking to the sun and parks and wandering with my guitar again. I’ve been getting back into my love of running and the outdoors, with frequent trips around the reservoir having quiet moments listening to podcasts breaking down some of my favorite indie hits and artists, brain-feeding myself, while also getting my daily dose of healthy “rundorphins.”

I’ve been loving it. I feel like myself again. And I feel like I’ve re-met who I was and always have been before I ever got caught in some sort of “work grind,” living like I had during postgrad, trying to figure myself out, trying to apply for 9-to-5s I knew I didn’t want, and occupied my time doing the things I loved.

This period almost makes me feel like I’m an emo high school kid, only that now I’m an adult, working, and maybe not so emo anymore — ha! But that’s the beauty of it.

It almost feels like there’s been a “break” on the world. How rare and blessed are we to be the only generation, and only people in all of time, to know what it was like when the world just “stopped” — when traffic disappeared, the continuous motion of jobs and work and consumerism and capitalism just stopped, and the world could just breathe again. Hell, I have never seen Mother Nature so happy! The damn air in LA is so god damn beautiful! I can finally go out into the streets and take a big whiff of the fresh air, rather than get smoke and smog caught in my lungs.

Small-town suburban little me is so so happy and feels so in her element.

But the whole thing seemed so sudden and none of us were prepared for it.

A lot of things may have been put on hold or postponed, but it’s also been interesting to see how people get creative with their time. It’s forced people to get real with themselves; look at what really matters; and lean on each other a little more, too. This time can bring out the worst or the best in people — and it’s interesting to see what kind of conversations people are having, with themselves or another.

During this time, I was shocked that my workplace had let go of their entire workforce — except for me and one other person! (Wow.) I am extremely grateful to still be able to work during this time and that they trust and like me as an employee to run the ins-and-outs and constant changes of a small business (and trust, it’s been fun, it gets me out of the house and gets introverted little me having some small talk with friendly folk); yet, as I was before quarantine, I had yearned for more time to focus on all the writing, music and new energy I was putting into outside work.

Just like my time being “fun-employed,” I’ve re-met some parts of myself I still have to address. Like, as I was getting on this wonderful boat of being extremely present and creating and doing things in the moment, I could feel myself getting stagnant again, worried about making progress, not doing and finishing all the things I had wanted to… My “quarantine calm” had gotten so repetitive that I was itching for progress.

But, as this writer Emma Zeck had beautifully put into words, “What if you created art for the sake of creating? What if you allowed yourself to rest and cry and laugh and play and get curious about whatever arises in you?”

Perhaps as a gentle reminder, progress and success are just animals of this societal pressure we put onto ourselves — but at our cores, we are who we are, simply, in this time and space.

That has been one of the guiding thoughts I’ve been having during this time: “Just be present, just be whole, just breathe with yourself.”

While I like to think of myself as a pretty peaceful person who can thrive during this time, I’ve realized my inner restless wandering soul always wants to keep moving — maybe running away from things? Escaping reality? Hell, my inner Pisces loves escaping reality and this time where the world is on “pause” seems like a godsend! Yet, I can only wander for so long before I begin to want to find home again… A safety nest… A community and people and my family who make me feel my best, and like I belong.

Even though I haven’t made as many concrete “works” as I’d like, I’ve spent a lot of time in thought. I’ve been playing with a lot of different song ideas. I’ve revisited all my old scraps of music. I’ve been dissecting song structures and layering and production. I’ve been having conversations with myself in my head (and incessantly tweeting about it, lol). I’ve been looking at myself. I’ve been realizing that while my upbringing is so different from others, I have a lot to be grateful for. I’ve been realizing stories I have to tell. I’ve been more grateful for my past experiences and can’t wait to share what my life has been. And I’ve just… had a lot of time to reflect, and honestly be really happy with who I am, what I have, who I’ve been, and what I have to look forward to.

There’s so much to be excited about and hopeful for.

In times of uncertainty, we can all get a little anxious, but perhaps this is just a test for us all in dealing with uncertainty. I’ve always held the belief of letting things that are out of our control go. You can only control yourself and your emotions, for whatever is outside of you is outside of your control. It’s no use or any benefit to get stressed over things that are out of your control.

As a dear friend once told me, a big part in our happiness is in having something to be excited about, and excited for. Create things that make you look forward to the future. Reflect on how your days have been and how much you have to be grateful for. And if you’re feeling something heavy? Let yourself feel everything deeply and let the feelings go.

Everything in this life is temporary, so find comfort in that.

Those have always been some of my guiding principles. I hope you continue to have a safe, happy and healthy quarantine.

And please, keep in touch. I’d love to be a hand, an ear, a friend, or simply a muse…

With love and honesty,

Rachel

3 responses to “How I Am Surviving the Quarantine

  1. Good read as always. I think individually we are seeing what happens when our “normal” is suddenly taken away and what our resolve is to adapt or like you say readapt to your true self.

  2. Great read! You are a great writer because I can relate to and imagine your experience. Is the LA air really any better?

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