Quarantine has affected me in unimaginable ways. I remember a long time ago while going through a dark time in life, I had a conversation with a very good friend about isolating myself from society in a cabin in the mountains, or better yet, on a deserted island. It’s hard to imagine life was ever so incredibly draining that I fantasized about being marooned alone on an uninhabited island for a few years.
My friend was telling me how quickly I would go crazy. He shared with me a time he hiked to a cabin in the backcountry to spend a week there completely alone. On the third day he was talking to himself. By the end of the week, he was on the verge of a mental breakdown and ended up leaving early.
At the time, I blew him off. All the negativity and chaos in my life made it impossible for me to understand how a week, much less a few years, of alone time could have a negative impact on my mental well-being. All I wanted was a life of zero responsibilities, no bills to pay, and no other people to answer to.
For two weeks during the summer of 2013 I took a solo road trip out west, spending much of that time alone camping in the backcountry, but also visiting family for a few days at a time. It was one of the best times of my life, and is a whole story all of its own that I’ll tell in another post. In short, I realized on that trip that it was a divorce I wanted. I should note here that I was not married to Kari at this time in my life.
Perhaps it’s the positive changes that I have made in my life since then, but quarantine has left me feeling very bored, for lack of a better term. Although I’m teleworking on my same work schedule as before quarantine, I’m still experiencing very strange effects that I guess can best be described as cabin fever.
I’m writing this at 4 am on a Thursday. I’ve been up since 1 am, which is just one symptom that I blame on quarantine. I’ve had trouble following a ‘normal’ sleep schedule my entire life, but without the structure of commuting into the office, I’m less worried about following a routine sleep schedule. The difference now is that I don’t worry myself to death over whether I’ll wake up in time for work the next day. Teleworking has reduced the level of stress due to my unusual sleep habits, but it’s also enhanced the odd times that I sleep.
Further, at the beginning of quarantine I was very motivated to get little projects completed around the house. One of my least favorite things to do in the world is maintenance on my home, so it has stacked up. Since I’m not commuting, I have loads more time on my hands to catch up on all these details that I’ve been putting off. Before quarantine, I went to work Monday through Friday, came home, ate dinner, watched a little TV, then went to bed. The only time I had for fun stuff was on the weekends, so I spent time on the water and doing other things I love rather than doing things I absolutely despise, like cleaning gutters.
As quarantine has dragged on into summer, I’m losing motivation to even do the things I love. Just two days ago, Kari was encouraging me to get out of the house and go paddle boarding, something I really love doing. But I couldn’t wrap my head around the thought of doing anything other than sitting on the couch, even though the weather outside was perfect and I had plenty of time on my hands. I have spurts of motivation where I’ll go mow the lawn or fix something that I have neglected, but mostly, I sit in my office at home and work, then go to the couch, then fall asleep at weird times.
Is this what depression looks like? Absolutely!
I finally have tons of time on my hands to work, work on my house, AND do the things I love, all in the same day! But I can’t motivate myself to get anything done that isn’t mandated by the motivation of losing a job that I actually love or getting a fine for not mowing my grass. What is causing this?
Am I weak minded? Am I unmotivated? Am I no different than 99% of the population? The first two I’m most certainly not. The last, well, yeah. Statistically speaking, I’m not unique from the majority of people. What does the majority of the world's population have in common that I’m missing out on right now? Human interaction.
As much as I hate to admit it, I’m not as introverted as I had once thought I am. I need human interaction. I miss talking to strangers at the dock bar, or if I’m not talking to them, I miss eavesdropping on conversations around the bar. I miss joking with the staff and watching the sunset at my favorite bar. I really miss baseball. I miss traveling.
I’ve been feeling quite down lately because I had some stuff planned for Chesapeake Wanderlust that I’m not sure I should move forward with. One of those plans is definitely not going to happen, but I’ll write about it later because it’s something people can do after this blows over without seeing me do it first. It’s just more interesting if I can relate it to the world while actually doing it.
The big one that I’m still contemplating is a Sea Doo ride from Annapolis to Richmond. I want to prove that you don’t need an expensive boat to explore and experience the Chesapeake Bay. I have the route all planned out, but it involves a couple of stays in hotels. I’m not old, and I’m not in the at risk population, but people my age that are otherwise healthy are still being killed by COVID-19, not something I’m willing to gamble with.
It’s easy enough to put the trip to Richmond off until next summer, but I need something to do. As you know from last year when I completed the challenge to spend 100 days on the water in a year, I’m a goal oriented person that feels lost without something to do. I’m going crazy not having anything motivating me to get through the year.
Most likely, I’m not going to Richmond this year. I can’t help but to hold out hope. I think about it every day. A number of scenarios have played out in my mind on how to make it work, but ultimately, I need to play it safe and just stay home.
Two things I know for certain are that quarantine sucks, but contracting COVID-19 would suck even more. I’ll live through this, and eventually I won’t be as depressed. Life will come back to some form of normal where we can be around strangers again. Until then, hang in there and realize if you are feeling out of sorts, you aren’t alone. As lonely as it is, we really are in this together.
Fair winds and following seas.
We are an adventurous couple exploring the Chesapeake Bay by boat, paddle board, jet ski, and whatever other means necessary!
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