To go out or not, that was the question.
At least, for many of us, it used to be something we all asked ourselves in the pre-COVID-19 era, as the weekend approached, with possibilities for dining, socializing and other activities that took us out and about in our respective cities.
But the coronavirus has prompted nations across the world to respond with stay-at-home orders and lockdowns, dispensing with the wrangling over where to head for the weekend. Cue the internet memes with “travel plans” involving a floor plan of one’s apartment or home.
However, as socializing and going out gets put on hold, some of us, such as myself, have quietly breathed a sigh of relief. And I was reminded of this by recently by a message from a friend of mine in the US.
She’s a few weeks into her stay at home and noted that, in spite of the other pressures that the coronavirus has swept into her life, it had cleared away one notable item – the stress of socializing. She had often spent much time debating over whether or not to take her kid out to see others, and pushed herself to go out even when it was probably the last thing she wanted to do.
But calls for people to remain at home, apart from essential errands such as grocery shopping or picking up medicine, proved liberating for her – because she’s an introvert.
And believe me, I can totally understand, because I am too.
Like her, I know all too well the anxiety that comes along with socializing. It’s not that we don’t enjoy spending time with people – but rather that being around others can become draining. And every introvert no doubt has their stories of that dinner party or outing that left them feeling exhausted or worse, often with the thought, “I should have stayed at home.”
And now, the coronavirus crisis, in mandating that we stay indoors, has lifted the strain of whether or not to socialize from our shoulders.
No more worrying about whether you should attend this or that, see their person or that one, or if you’ve stayed in too long.
No more being judged either for spending an entire weekend curled up on the couch with a good book, or a movie, or a writing project.
I wonder, how many more introverts out there have secretly rejoiced over orders to stay indoors?
Maybe it’s no wonder that, as China begins to resume normal life once again, I still find myself largely indulging in weekends at home – and loving every minute of it.
What do you think? If you’re an introvert, have you found a silver lining in the COVID-19 pandemic because you’re freed from social obligations and can spend more time alone?