At the beginning of 2020, I had so much to look forward to; my birthday, getting through another semester of college, and graduation. Instead of being in a positive mood, I was shocked by the news of a pandemic and a mandated lockdown. It felt like being under house arrest for a crime I did not commit. Even though my class was online, I still missed being able to go on campus to hang out in the library. There were resources there that I didn’t have at home. What a way to spend the final semester before graduation. It ended up being one of the most stressful of all. Instead of being excited about graduating, I was devastated.
I missed my classmates and professors. I worried about them. I emailed one professor to ask if everyone was doing okay. I had heard some students had dropped out of college after hearing about the pandemic. I hoped our class would finish strong. Since we were taking an online writing course, we didn’t have to adjust like some other classes did. Nevertheless, other areas of our lives were affected. Some of us still had to deal with empty shelves at the grocery stores and the lack of necessities like, toilet paper.
Fortunately for me, I would stock up on food and toiletries just before the beginning of each semester. Since the pandemic was announced in the third week of January, I had already bought enough at the beginning to last my household for a few months. I wasn’t hoarding. I had been doing this for years so that I could spend more time studying and less time shopping. This meant, I wasn’t in the crowds of people panic shopping. I was at home trying to figure out what was going on, and dividing my time between finishing writing assignments and watching the news.
After graduation, I was so depressed I left social media. I closed all of my online accounts except an email address. There was no more blogging or tweeting. No Facebook. Nothing. I left everything. I was tired of all the negativity and fakeness. I was tired of angry people. I stopped sharing my writing and artwork. I dropped it all and walked away. I spent a whole year offline except for the most basic email contacts. This may seem drastic, but in doing so I rediscovered myself in a new way. I began living life at a slower, less stressful pace. Being unplugged felt amazing. It was like a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. I spent the time reassessing my goals and priorities.
My strategy to get through lockdown was to read books offline and to continue drawing and writing mainly for myself. I admit going offline was not easy at first, but it was doable. The reward for me was having more time to think without feeling like I needed to respond all the time. I didn’t have to decide if I liked something or not, and give a comment. There was no need to check and see what comments others were leaving on my posts. I could work without all of those distractions. I could live life without going online first thing in the morning. Some days, I wouldn’t go online at all. I did okay.
I started this blog because I need to start over as a writer. I need to get back into the conversation. I used to write poetry and short stories. I’m not sure what I am going to write this time. So much has changed since the beginning of 2020. Come to think of it, that might be a good place to start, picking up where I left off.