Opinion: Time, the Silver Lining of Quarantine


Media by Arpitha Sistla

By redefining the traditional schoolweek and workweek, quarantine has given many people time to significantly improve their lives.

The coronavirus is undoubtedly one of the strangest times Gen Z has ever had to live through. 

Trump “joking” about injecting disinfectant to mitigate the virus’s spread, Cardi B interviewing Bernie Sanders on Instagram Live and disgruntled Americans breaking quarantine to protest the very system that is keeping them safe have all been just some of the strangest events to happen since COVID-19 became a global pandemic. 

Even with Netflix and Disney+ accounts and the luxury of being able to stay home and still participate in work and school, people of all ages and all backgrounds are relentlessly complaining about the situation we are in. 

Their number one complaint?

“There’s nothing to do.” 

Most teens and a large portion of adults are able to stay home during quarantine, meaning they have 24 hours a day, seven days a week of time to themselves. 

Time to accomplish at least one meaningful task from a sea of incomplete New Year’s resolutions and planless abstract hopes and dreams. 

So no, there’s absolutely not “nothing” to do. In fact, the silver lining of this whole situation is that we now have the time to do possibly more than we ever could before.

While we may fixate on the many negative consequences of the global pandemic, we fail to recognize what a gift that extra time is. 

By valuable extra time, I don’t just mean spare time to do some spring cleaning or make up unfinished work. The extra time that comes with quarantine has given us the opportunity to re-evaluate and significantly improve our lives. 

Many of my friends have found amazing things to occupy themselves with. A friend of mine with severe anxiety has taken up art ‒ everything from chalkboard drawings to intricate acrylic paintings ‒  and she said it has helped her significantly. 

Countless people have started creating a stable exercise regimen for themselves in an effort to lead a more active lifestyle with great results. 

People have adopted pets. Teens have taken the initiative to help local hospitals and arrange food drives. Previously distant families have become closer to one another. 

My point is, while this whole situation definitely seems like a never-ending storm, silver linings can still be found. Positive things can happen and are happening.

As I’m sure many people can agree, quarantine has been an unexpected breath of fresh air for the world and has allowed the world to gain a perspective it would have never gained otherwise. 

Yes, I’ve found myself complaining about not getting to see my friends or not being able to go out, but the positives I’ve experienced with quarantine far outweigh these complaints. 

As stressful of a situation as we are all in, our complaints, while valid, should not be what we focus on and take away. 

Constant, toxic negativity is only going to make things worse. 

Whenever we are tempted to complain, it’s also important to remember how, in a way, having “nothing to do” is a privilege. 

Healthcare professionals and essential workers are some of the many heroes of the COVID-19 crisis. They spend the time we spend at home actively working and risking their safety.

In honor of them and in honor of our own time, we need to stop whining and start doing.  

I urge you to do something meaningful with your time. Reflect on your life. Pursue your passions. Help out your community. Connect with friends and family. Connect with yourself. Just don’t complain about having nothing to do.