Essential Life Lessons from Quarantine

I’ve been having flashbacks. Glimmers of my earlier life, especially my childhood, have been bobbing into my consciousness. Like beautiful leaves, floating down the river of my life, they come. 

I’ve never been one to look back; triumphantly I charge forward. Since the chaos of life has ceased, my brain, no longer cluttered with to-dos and menial tasks, has become clear. My true nature, buried under decades of next steps, expectations, and narrowed by the myopathy of busyness, has levitated. 

I was apprehensive about publishing this piece, because people are suffering. But I wonder, are others awakening like me? I needed to write this down, so modern life doesn’t strip these lessons from me. So here they are: the essential life lessons I’ve learned from quarantine. 

Too many choices create unhappiness

Everyone needs a fishbowl.

Barry Schwartz

Affluent western society is built on the belief to maximize the welfare of the individual, one must maximize freedom, and to maximize freedom, one must maximize choice. According to psychologist Barry Schwartz, the belief that choice offers liberation is false and he offers up a number of reasons why. When faced with more options, we are less likely to make decisions. Furthermore, when a choice has been made, we are more likely to compare it to alternatives and regret our decision. More choice also escalates our expectations, equaling more disappointment, and causing us to place blame on ourselves for choosing poorly. Since quarantine has drastically decreased the activities I can do, places I can go, and the people I spend time with, I have been emancipated from paralysis cause by excessive choice and liberated from the fear of missing out (FOMO).

You’re not lazy, you’re just not excited

We have a culture flooded with goals and spreadsheets and work plans that inspire no heart, no drive, no courage.

Brendon Burchard

Liberate yourself for the view that you’re a procrastinator. When was the last time you procrastinated something you actually wanted to do? I’ve written down so many SMART goals in my life that don’t fire me up, they drain my spirit. It’s not you, it’s the task. If you create a goal that doesn’t inspire you, you need to either axe it completely or think bigger. 

Guard your energy with your life 

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.

Henry David Thoreau

If something is not fueling you, it’s draining your tank. Escapism is ramped in our culture. Netflix marathons and scrolling social media have become full time hobbies. This isn’t because human beings are inherently lazy, it’s because the busyness of modern life is robbing us of our fire. Focus on the essentials. Only spend time with people that lift you up, create goals that excite you, and before committing to anything or anyone, ask yourself “is this what I want to do with my limited energy?” 

Busyness is the ultimate distraction 

the greatest enemy of good thinking is busyness.”

John C. Maxwell

It’s incredible how many ways we can find to occupy our days, but spend little time sitting in stillness to think. Unfortunately, people have grand epiphanies at the end of their lives; when days have slowed down due to retirement, when degrees have been granted, when houses have been built, and when children are grown. That’s when real regrets set in,. However busy you are, always take moments in your day or your week to think, reflect, and ask yourself “am I living the life I want?”

Nothing is guaranteed in life, do what you love 

I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

Regrets of Dying, Bronnie Ware palliative care nurse

This year has reminded us that life is fragile, not only now, but every day. As much as you plan, make the responsible choice, or choose the predictable road,  life can always throw a curveball. If nothing is guaranteed, why not shoot for the moon? Liberate yourself from what you think is practical and possible. Stop putting your life in a box of what society and others expect of you—do what you love, because if you don’t, what’s the point?

Thank-you for giving me the great privilege of being a part of your life today. If you found this post meaningful, please share, like, comment, and follow my blog. For daily inspiration and guidance on living your best life, follow me on Instagram @miss_susanflynn.

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