Three Lessons from Quarantine
2020 will forever be chronicled as the year of the Great Toilet Paper Wars when grown humans decided to brawl over shit tickets in aisles of overpriced corporate greed. Personally, as a man who uses one toilet paper roll every 7-10 days, I quite enjoyed the spectacle of human stupidity. I'm still on the 24 pack I bought at the start of the year.
Three months ago, my work decided to enforce the Work From Home mantra, and as a dude with a bung heart and considered high-risk, I entered a self-imposed exile. I Obi-Wan Kenobi'd myself in The After Burner (my version of Tatooine) and hunkered down to let it all blow over. This situation gave me pause to reflect on my life and how it's impacted myself and others. Here are my thoughts;
Your mental wellbeing is key
The first week or two were manageable, but after that, I lost my marbles. My performance on personal and professional goals tumbled. On my walks, I barely managed to look anyone in the eye. Socially, I was a mess. Not seeing or being near humans for an extended period impacted me in ways I would not have predicted. And the cat got a lot of talking to.
One morning I woke up and decided to get back into my old habits. Up at 0515 for a workout, the morning routine is done by 0730, at the desk ready for work by 0800. But that wasn't enough.
I added new skills to my already extensive bachelor resume. I picked up Russian again, started playing the guitar, did some cocktail and cooking masterclasses, read books that challenged my world view, and did all I could to keep my mind stimulated. I will be leaving quarantine better than when I went into it and plan on continuing on this path of growth and discovery.
It's easier to be healthy than you realise
So I've been telling myself I would drop body fat percentage and get in shape for years. I've always hovered around the 20% BF mark, snacked continuously, and told myself that "one day" I'll get there. Well when you're no longer tempted by snacks at work, being baked sweets by colleagues, and can no longer go out every night, things take shape.
By cooking at home more often, cutting the caloric crap, tracking everything in MyFitnessPal, the body fat started to drop naturally. No particular diet, just being mindful of cals in and cals out. My workouts decreased in intensity with no equipment, and I haven't been doing jiu-jitsu for apparent reasons, but still - progress was made.
In three months, I've maintained 72kg and dropped to 15% body fat. I'm pushing towards my Army level strength markers (All non-stop no rest - 50 push-ups, 20 pull-ups, 2.4km run under 10:30). All it took was a bit of discipline and effort.
All that said, I'm pumped to be able to get back into the gym shortly. And jiu-jitsu, whenever the hell that comes back ...
People are good
Despite the aforementioned toilet paper incidents, people have, for the most part, been kind to one another. I have made a conscious effort to be mindful of others and help them where I can, particularly my neighbours who are also exceptionally high risk.
I've seen offers by others to help with grocery shopping or transport, a colleague did me a solid and did my shopping for me. At the same time, I was super sick (potentially COVID). There are stories globally of balcony musicians playing together, of group fitness classes happening apart, of new inventions, and societies shifting towards the betterment of our species.
Sure there are rotten eggs here and there, but they're the minority. People are good at heart. If you spent all your time focusing on negative, that's all your find.
So turn off the news, check on your neighbours, ask the cute person out, and be happy. If nothing else we've learned that we've taken life for granted, and it could end at any second for any of us. Get out there and live it.
From 1.5m apart though.