Quarantine Thoughts // no.1
Deep breath. I pause and let my eyes soften as I follow the sway of the tree branches outside my second-floor window. The buds are only beginning to burst in shocks of neon green in the sky. The sweep of cars and bicycles colour the air with a meditative tempo. I hear hockey sticks slap on pavement in the distance. The chatting of my neighbours in their backyard.
Deep breath. I’m enjoying the sunlight and newfound quietness.
Deep breath. I quit a job in the middle of a pandemic and economic crisis.
I didn’t intend to quit my job. I had already been laid off of salary career. I’m on a temporary reduced contract with severance for the next two months. I have little job security. But I made the hard choice of letting go of this second contract that I was struggling with. It had been building up for a number of months. I had attempted to resign earlier in the year, and they persuaded me to stay. I had unhappily continued, and slowly started to become a person I didn’t enjoy being around. I saw myself lose patience faster. I was glued to a screen grumbling.
I’m usually the kind of person that can grumble and carry on, but when I began saying no to jobs that came up because I was too busy with this one, I started to realize that something wasn’t quite right.
When I knew I’d be home for this quarantine, I secretly breathed a sigh of relief. I was glad to have this time with my home. I had been dreaming of building a career that would allow me less time travelling, but hadn’t had the courage to take the leap. I saw this as an opportunity to shape the future. Working at home meant I would save the 4 hours of commuting that were in my usual day.
Fast-forward three weeks of layoffs, uncertainty and budget spreadsheets, and quarantine was by no means the pause that I imagined. I hadn’t written a word for myself. I had captured joyful moments, and slowed down to appreciate them, but I hadn’t been able to tell my fingers to tap on the keys for anything that was remotely disconnected from income.
My brain had turned onto survival mode: don’t do it unless it makes you money.
What a shame of a concept. And yet, I told myself, this is the world we live in. If my grandparents could live through a depression working jobs they despised, couldn’t I? Shouldn’t I step through this with as much grace and determination and grit as they did? Especially knowing that my next paycheque could disappear as easily as it came?
It took getting really honest with myself. Was it that there were legitimately no other job prospects? Or was it that I was terrifyingly holding onto a job that was not good for me, just for fear that others would reprimand my decision?
These are hard questions to answer. And everyone’s situations are wildly different. I certainly don’t advocate for quitting your job for a more “productive” quarantine. But I knew in my gut that for once in my life, saying “no” would lead me down the path I needed to walk right now—even if it meant scrimping and eating more pantry food and darning my socks more for the near future. And once I said no, I found the opportunities I’d skipped came back to me with renewed strength. Opportunities that aligned with my vision of a conscious career.
An old Italian phrase comes to mind: “Chiusa una porta si apre un portone.” When one door closes, a bigger one opens.
Sometimes you need to make room for the opportunities that have been trying to make their way to you. Sometimes it takes a while to realize that you’ve been holding onto something, just to feel the security of it in your grasp—not because it’s the best thing for you.
I’m eager to leap with renewed fervour into creating the content I love. For serving myself better, and serving you better. I’m so grateful for those two little letters: “no.”