COVID-19: What I’ve Learned About Myself

I don’t intend to turn this website into a COVID-19 website. I fully believe that escapism is an important element of life. Especially during a crisis like this, I hope Tome of Nerd can be an outlet for others. I want this to be a place where you can forget about reality, at least for a few minutes, and just enjoy some nerdy shit.

That being said, I’m also finding that COVID-19 is something that I need to talk about. Which is insane, because it feels like it is all that is talked about. But I have found it nice to think a little deeper about my own thoughts and reflect on myself during this once in a lifetime event. With the self-isolation, there has been lots of time for introspection.

With that, I thought I would share some of the things I have learned about myself during this unique time in history. I probably touched on some of it in my previous article, but here we go again.

I am incredibly privileged

Now, more than ever, I realize how lucky I am. My wife and I both have jobs that allow us to work from home and that pay us during this crisis. We are lucky enough to save well and have emergency savings. We have not had to worry about money once during the pandemic.

When I see what’s going on in the world, with record unemployment and people unable to pay rent, I feel very grateful for my position in society. I recognize that my situation is very different from many other people. I am lucky that this is a time where I get to write and reflect on life and not a time where I am wondering when I’ll get another paycheck.

I think I’m going to enjoy retirement

I am a pretty big believer in the FIRE movement. We are actively planning our lives to retire early and exit the so-called “rat race” as soon as possible. But one of the things I always worry about is whether we are racing towards boredom/depression. Will we even by happy once we stay home all day?

Well, it’s only been a month, but I’m loving it. I love that I get to make my own schedule. I get to have complete control over my days. Life moves at a different, slower space and it’s amazing. If I want breakfast to last an hour, it can. If I want to take the time to experiment making coffee in a french press, I can.

Yes, I am still working from home, but many of the everyday stresses are gone. And even in retirement, I plan to have things to work on. I don’t want to sit around and do nothing all day. That sounds miserable. I want to explore new activities and try new things. And at least so far, this self-quarantine has allowed me to do that, albeit in a somewhat restrictive fashion.

I thrive on structure

I’m a big fan of structure. A while back I wrote a whole piece on structure. I won’t rehash it all here, but more than ever I realize how important it is to have some sort of plan for your day.

I still treat Monday through Friday as workdays. I get up at a set time (later than I was when I had to actually go to work). I check my email. I have breakfast. I work. I exercise. I work more. I read. I have lunch. More work. I play video games. I go for a walk. More work.

It sounds terribly boring when I write it like that, but it’s so integral to have structure. It gives you control of your life. It provides meaning to your day. When we lose our 9-5 job structure, it’s easy to become aimless and sedentary. We thrive on structure. I encourage anyone who is struggling with monotony to add some structure to your day.

I miss eating out

One of my favorite things in life is going out with my wife or my friends and eating good food. I always knew this, but I didn’t realize how much I would miss it.

We have ordered in quite a bit from our favorite restaurants, both because we miss them and because we want to support them. But really, it isn’t the same. Eating my favorite restaurant food at our dinner table or on our couch is fun, but it doesn’t provide the same experience. What is it about the loud chatter of a restaurant/cafe/bar that adds to it all? Is it the diversity in the day? Being with other people? I really don’t know, but I miss it.

I miss my friends

I’m an introvert. Being at home all day is not a punishment. I love being by myself and doing whatever I want. But being alone has its limits and I’ve learned that I do miss socializing with my friends.

There are so many great virtual options available now. It is not hard to play video games or have a virtual call with friends. Technology is pretty amazing. But we are also learning how it does not replace face-to-face interaction.

What is it about sitting in the same room as another person that is so essential to socialization? Is there some deeper chemical interaction that we are not aware of? Or is it just the ease of communicating in person versus over a computer? I really don’t know or understand, but I miss it.

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