5 Lessons from Living Alone During the Pandemic
Being alone doesn't have to mean being lonely — and in 2020, this statement has only been emphasized. After months of an ongoing pandemic and social distancing, it's safe to say this year has been challenging for many of us. Yet while everyone's situation looks different, quarantining may feel especially isolating for people living by themselves.
As a 20-something who is experiencing this reality in Chicago, I can confirm that there have been ups and downs. Sure, I've watched "Gossip Girl" for the third time (yes, all six seasons), but I've also felt overwhelmed. Still, social isolation can be an opportunity for self-growth and mindfulness. Here are important lessons I've learned during this time.
1. Everyday moments can bring happiness. The little things matter most. And during a pandemic, this still holds true — details I never noticed before have now become highlights. The view of a pink sunset from my balcony. The way the snow falls outside my window. The sound of the train passing my apartment. While life may feel slower, these quiet moments are a chance to practice staying present.
2. Feeling like you're missing out happens. Confession: There was one point where I was convinced the world had forgotten about me. Blame it on the fact that I've read more than 40 books in silence or spent Thanksgiving alone with Chinese takeout, but I felt like I was missing out. Although seeing posts of people together was difficult, acknowledging that helped me. After all, we can't control how we feel, but we can decide to not let those feelings get the best of us.
3. Your support system may be larger than you think. In a world where we stay connected at the swipe of (literally) a finger, it's easier than ever to keep in touch. Whether it was texts from a former coworker or a call with a high school friend, I realized that support extended past my inner circle. More time at home can mean more time to reflect on our relationships — and check in on those we care about.
4. Healing is a continuous process. Sitting alone with our thoughts can lead to dwelling on the past (it's a fact). Did that guy really say those words to me? Should I have given that friend another chance? But don't worry, these memories flooding back simply prove we are humans with triggers. Remember — healing isn't linear and we need to be kind to ourselves by focusing on how far we've come instead.
5. No one can love you the way you can. Even though I've been isolated through this pandemic, I've never felt so satisfied by my own company. From going on a picnic with a full charcuterie board to putting up Halloween decorations for the first time, this experience has allowed me to appreciate the most important person in my life: myself. Thus, I'm embracing this time alone. In the end, there's power in knowing who we are and choosing to love every part of ourselves.
Christina Huynh is a writer and editor living in Chicago. When she's not reading articles based on her zodiac sign, she's dreaming about her next meal and looking for more plants to add to her growing collection. You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.