OUTSIDE

Quarantine Thoughts

OUTSIDE
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Oh vitamin D, how I miss you old friend!

We are right in the middle of the infamous summer of 2020, and like most parts of the world, New York City's sunsets are elongating and returning our starry sky at a later time. Unlike the winter where the sun sets at 5pm, during summer time the city is showered with sunshine for over 12 hours a day. This defines summer; unlimited sunshine the whole day followed by a cool night starting at 8pm the earliest. Plenty of time for outdoor parties, bbqs, picnics, outdoor movies, tourism, or simple strolls in the park. Activities which are usually followed by a night out in the city! Whether it's in Broadway or the rowdy East Village, NYC nightlife is second to none! Unfortunately, our NYC this year will face a less vibrant, a less bright, and a less vivid summer. For those new to New York, we apologize for the inconvenience, but no refund is available at this time.

I don't particularly want to focus on the virus, and quarantine and the economy as we get enough of that everywhere else. I do, however, have to address the fact that we are spending these sunny days staring out our windows. Some of us, don't even have that luxury! If you know NYC, you know that living in a closet is a standard living condition, especially for those of us who just moved here and had limited time to figure it all out. New York is tough and expensive and living in a closet, basement, or attic is a blessing if you want to at least get your foot in the door. I may be exaggerating, but I am not. My roommate has no windows in his room, and our apartment is too dark even on the sunniest day. Clearly, our NYC home was not made for indoor activities, our apartment is ideal for a young professional who spends 70-80% of their time living in the city; at work, at the gym, at the store, at the coffee shop and in the subway. This is the city, that is the life, our life is the city and that's that. Or, at least...it was.

So without the city, who are we? What are we doing? and why?

These are the arising questions that we can't stop thinking about. Not only, in NYC, but all around the world, people who dedicate their lives to their lifestyle have lost their identity and the purpose. This thought may be a bit harsh, and it may not even apply to you. But it probably does. Maybe you live and work at home, and this pandemic has only slightly affected your daily routine. Maybe you also live alone, have no pets and eat pasta as your main source of food. If this is your case, then congratulations! You have been preparing for a pandemic and did not even realize it. Most of us do not relate with you and will keep reading:

What do we have indoors, anyway? Many of us feel a lot of pressure to identify who we are through the difference we can make, the footprint we can leave behind, or the legacy we think we are. So, is that what we are sacrificing by sitting still and staying indoors? Will my identity fade? will my relationships weaken by sitting at home?

The answer is yes. The answer is no. The answer is... instagram? Keep posting so people out there know you're still alive!! Let your friends know that you do know how to cook! Make sure your followers also see that you're athletic and can do 5 pushups! But most importantly, find the most aesthetically pleasing filter to broadcast your intimate, private and personal life. Who really needs to be outdoors when all socializing is done through social media? Well, the sad truth is that as much as Tik Tok has us hypnotized, we still miss your friends. We miss people, our people, and strangers too. Maybe some of us simply need people to feel alive. If I am alone and do anything without you watching, did it actually happen? If I cook and feed myself without documenting it, is it even important? Do we take care of ourselves only because someone is watching? And, what happens if I stop watching? Do I have an opinion even when my instagram is quiet? Some uncomfortable questions we should ask ourselves.

A survival belief is that there is no good that can happen when isolated, isolation turns people into person into human into being into another creature on earth that is limited by time. For generations and generations, humans have conquered and evolved by working together and living as a whole. We are not lone wolves, we are ants. For ants and wolfs to function, they must go outside of their "home" and make a living. They work, hunt, live. All to survive. In present time, however, humans have a different motivation to live. We no longer need to hunt for food, we have Postmates. We no longer have to get wood and build a fire, we have heaters. And we no longer need each other's presence, we have Zoom. In other words, having to go outside it less of a necessity, for most of us anyway. By "us" I am referring to millennials and genX first-world citizens. We live with new instincts for survival. One must be socially accepted, charismatic, happy and maintain a healthy reputation. It takes a lot of work and a lot of putting yourself out there. Out there... out? Out on the internet, actually. That's where we go out now, that is the only space to run and hide and joke and sing and dance. We are never locked inside, if anything we have been locked inside our social image this whole time. It's time to show the internet who we are, because if we don't... what? we disappear? we are forgotten? We lose credibility.

The whole idea of having to go outside and experience life at all times is the problem. The idea that we must keep up with what our friends are doing and saying at all times is the problem. It's okay to be the product of such a society, it is inevitable. Now that we are right in the middle of it, lost in the sauce, lets step out of it and analyze what truly is going on around us, within us, behind us and ahead of us. Our lifestyle is irrelevant now, our lifestyle is on pause, "to be continued". Our footprints will fade, and our daily views are limited to our screens, a drastic change no one saw coming. A change that has been slowly cuddling into our reality since the beginning of smart phones.

This reality is not forever, we will one day return to a new normal, a normal that will feel like a parallel universe. But the important truth is that this will pass. The world will continue to evolve and humans will evolve with it, that's how the history of humankind unfolds.

It is time for us to be inside, not just indoors, but inside ourselves. Time to think of what makes us feel alive when we are not outside. Yes, we will be mocked by the sun every day as we stare at it from our window, we will be pale and less energized due to a lack of vitamin D. None the less, time runs at the same pace every day, whether we are outside or inside, time goes. We do not have more time as before, but we do have more space to allocate it. Time is a resource, remember? It is time to manipulate it to our own benefit, use it to grow and learn and evolve, the way the human race has done since the beginning of time. We are back in the cave, ready to create a new fire. There is No Time to waste.

self help
Isabel Valencia Zuñiga
Isabel Valencia Zuñiga
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Isabel Valencia Zuñiga
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