Before the stay-at-home order began, I never considered myself to be anything other than a homebody. I would relish days that I could spend at home doing nothing to take breaks from my hectic daily schedule. I loved being inside on days which I could make the choice to spend however I wanted, as rare as they were.
The first few days of the stay-at-home order were, therefore, very enjoyable for me. I felt the limitlessness of my choices. I raced through books. I cleaned the entirety of my apartment. I binge watched a lot of TV. And then I ran out of things to do, and every day my apartment began to feel smaller and smaller. I began to crave the routine of leaving my apartment and taking the bus to class. I even missed running across campus to get from class to class. I missed the traffic and the drivers who refused to stop at crosswalks. It all reminded me of a time of normalcy and a time of spontaneity while I spent every day at home in monotony.
About a week ago, I decided to do something about this. After taking a walk around my neighborhood, I realized just how much I missed the spontaneity of simply being outside and away from the white walls of my apartment. So I began sitting on my porch. It’s not big, around 8×10 ft, but it is a space where anything can happen. A bee can buzz by, and the birds chirp without rhythm. Somebody can ride by on their bike and yell hello, and my neighbors will come out and grill delicious smelling food on their porches.
For me, being outside brings back the spontaneity of life once more and allows me the freedom from monotony. Instead of white walls, I see trees and grass and other people. Instead of rooms that end about 10 ft away from me, the world outside is limitless as far as the eye can see. The small space of my porch has become much bigger than the small space enclosed inside. Now, unless it’s raining, you can find me out there every day, even as I write this now. Sitting outside has become my routine. I am more productive and enjoy downtime more when I’m outside. Being outside allows me to stay engaged with the physical world and ignore the inciting, but threatening, pull of the digital world.