800h in NY quarantine.

The whole world is looking at NY, speculating if we can handle the pandemic. People are wondering if we can make it, and ask me how New Yorkers have been going through the quarantine. Quite frankly – I don’t know. There are many millions of us; it varies for each person. I  know how I’ve been dealing with it. 

I live in Greenpoint, in Brooklyn; the situation here has been good since the beginning of the pandemic. Grocery stores, bank, post office, bakery, deli, pharmacies have been open; some of them 24/7; you could easily buy your essentials. I don’t feel panic in my neighborhood; if it weren’t for the masks, I wouldn’t know that something terrible has been happening. Most people wear gloves and masks; parents walk with their kids and dogs to not go crazy in tiny NY apartments; runners run, bikers bike, the mail is distributed, delivery guys work non stop. It’s quiet, but life didn’t stop. 

Police cars patrol the streets, but they don’t stop anyone, they remind through the speakers to keep 6 ft distance; everyone is trying to use their common sense. Subway is running, but I’ve not been on it for over four weeks now, which never happened before. 

I heard that many New Yorkers left their homes and went to another state or outside the United States. All my friends here adapted to the new situation, most of them work from home. We all miss our city. 

I spent over 800h at home in a period of 34 days (with only 4h outside). I live by myself in a studio apartment. I stay at home because I want to keep myself and everyone else safe. 

I listen to music, dance, read, write, meditate, sleep, watch shows and movies, make new videos, work out, I talk to my family, friends, and acquaintances, I spread positivity because it’s in my DNA. I schedule small projects for myself every day, or I finish the tasks I’d always postponed. One day is productive; the next two are not, or the other way round. I don’t put any pressure on myself; I take day by day. I don’t go into fear, I don’t watch the news, but I check Apple News on my phone and read NY Times sometimes. I don’t think that feeding yourself with all bad news helps us during this time. I don’t go for walks, but I do grocery shopping every few days. 

The way New Yorkers (and not only them) go through the quarantine depends on where you live, how much money you have, whereas you work in the service industry etc. But mainly – in my opinion – it depends what’s your attitude towards life in general. It depends on what your relationship with money and with yourself is. You can have millions of dollars, a private Island, and you could still go into depression right now. What keeps you sane, or not, is only you.

Self-isolation is not a novelty to me. I’ve spent a lot of hours by myself. Silence doesn’t scare me; sitting with my thoughts, it’s my usual; I’m not afraid to confront myself. I’ve done a lot of inner work over the past few years to get to this state. I focus on things that can improve my life, rather than on what’s my obstacle now. During the quarantine, I discovered new things about myself, new desires, new goals, and new ideas. But I have to admit that this situation is challenging even to me. It requires a lot of mental flexibility and being grounded. Meditation helps enormously. I wouldn’t be able to go through it if it wasn’t for my ability to center myself. If you are not familiar with yourself, this time will be tough for you. If you don’t know your tools to pick yourself up, you might suffer through this experience. 

My view on the whole situation is a bit different than what I hear around. I look at it as an opportunity for all of us. I’m glad that Mother Nature has been resting. We’d been getting signs that things didn’t work anymore – for both – our Earth and ourselves. We’ve been destroying our environment for years, taking whatever we desired. And now we, collectively, were forced to stop and look in the mirror. And the truth will hurt many of us. Our desire to come back to our “normal life” is tremendous, but we forget at the same time, that not everything is worth coming back to. We got this chance now to look at ourselves and ask a few questions. What’s important to us? What did we forget about it? What should disappear from our life? It’s a good time to figure out what your new normal could be about. The truth might be painful and uncomfortable, but there is no growth in comfort. This opportunity might not be given to us anymore.

What I miss the most are my walks in Manhattan. I’ve been exploring my city for seven years now, and I’ve never stooped walking around. Every day (no exceptions), I thanked (and I still do) that I live in New York. 

I miss people, too; I miss touching another person. I want to hug someone. I miss the energy of the city and can’t wait when it raises like a Phoneix from the ashes showing its amazing colors again. I’m patiently waiting for this moment, remembering at the same time that sometimes what I/we need is not what’s the most important right now, even though we still want to think that it is.

People ask me why I stayed, and I reply: Why would I leave? We’re in it together. You don’t leave the thing you love just because it got tougher. We are this modern Babel Tower immersed in the subway system that is pushing us through tough NY life. And we will always be. The pandemic will pass, and we will push through it again. We will rise up as we always do, with or without anyone’s help.