March 2020 will probably be remembered by the COVID-19 pandemic. I won’t talk about this event but instead share the positive side of self-isolation, some unrelated good news that I received, and offer some thought-provoking literature.
Enjoying the Self-isolation
Today is our 19th day staying at home. From friends and family, I know this can be difficult for others, but as someone who’s worked remotely one-third of his career, self-isolating hasn’t been too harsh on me. Since I don’t even have local friends yet, the only thing I’m missing is going out for coffee, dinner and to the cinema. I won’t say it hasn’t been hard at all. Sometimes our apartment starts feeling too small and when this happens, we go out for a walk to a nearby park (this is encouraged by the government, we just need to follow the indications). We’ve been doing this once or twice a week.
This reminds me of the time when I lived in a small village in the Swiss Alps. I was born and raised in a big city, so I know how shocking it can be to go from chaos to stillness but it was also during that time that I learned to spend time with myself. I encourage you to use this time to listen to your thoughts and body. Learn about who you really are and what you want in life.
It so happens that I’m unemployed so during this time I did almost no work except for minor updates to this website but I wasn’t really “productive”. Instead, I slept a lot, did some yoga, meditated, read a few books (see recommendations below), have been calling my family at home on a daily basis, cooked, and watched TV. If you can give yourself the luxury of not working, I’d recommend learning to detach your personal value from your ability to produce and appreciate yourself for the other things that make you who you are.
If you ask me, this is what the world would feel like if social rules were defined by introverts. I still prefer living in a big chaotic city, but knowing that things will be back to normal in the next few weeks/months, I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.
Good News During Bad Times
Last week I got a letter from the government saying that they accepted my request for a work permit. Because of the current lockdown going on, I cannot start working just yet, but I’m looking forward to my first working experience in this beautiful country.
Out of the Reading Stack
- Outgrowing God: A Beginner’s Guide – Living through a pandemic has demonstrated the disaster that our leaders can cause when they follow their beliefs instead of science. As a society, we need to talk more about this problem and have good resources to give people who are starting to question their beliefs. Dawkins’ book is a great start because it talks about polytheism and monotheism, the veracity of historical events, ethics, and morals without a religious framework, evolution, and questions that science hasn’t been able to answer.
- Letters from a Stoic – When living in times like these, it’s easy to overreact. Some are losing their heads thinking that the world is going to end and buy all the toilet paper they are able to get their hands on, others are being selfish and irresponsible and not respecting the social distancing measures in place and risking others’ lives. One more thing this pandemic has taught us is that we need more people with good character and fewer schmucks. This book is a collection of letters written by Seneca to one of his friends, where he shares his stoic ideals for life.
- The Slavery of Our Times – During the past weeks we’ve been able to see many countries putting their economy before their people. It has also made visible how much disparity there is between the rich and the poor. Proving how flawed, fragile and unfair our economic system is. Tolstoy exposes many of these issues in his works. It’s hard to believe he wrote them more than a hundred years ago and it’s sad to see that not much has changed since.