We are publishing submissions about the COVID-19 crisis from readers daily on NewPhilosopher.com in the hope that it can help us all make sense of what is happening, and as a historical record of how it made us feel. Here are your thoughts, from around the world.
By Sam Sykes, Amman, Jordan
On day twelve of lockdown in a country that engaged a swift and strict response to prevent the spread of the virus, I find myself sitting indoors for what feels like the fiftieth day in a row, forced to ignore time.
Before the pandemic, my three flatmates and I barely had enough time to accomplish all that our busy schedules required of us: jobs, language studies, volunteering, happy hours, grocery shopping, dinners with friends, cultural events, workouts, parties, holidays, travels. We felt as though we were constantly running out of time.
Now, on the contrary, all we really have is time. It doesn’t matter what day it is, what time it is. None of us can work, go outside, travel to our home countries, visit family or friends. Time blends together. We can make routines in quarantine, but we don’t have to. We can read, play games, exercise, cook, talk, watch, create, write, dance, engage. Or not. But time still passes differently than before.
Yet even though time is still right now as the world shuts down, somehow we feel as though we are losing time in this quarantine. Losing time to be with friends and family, time to accomplish this important project or reach this professional milestone, time to meet the potential love of our life, time to see the world.
Time is both a setback and a blessing right now.
The global measures taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are forcing us to rediscover what value and meaning time has for each of us. Right now, in the midst of all of the chaos, the cancellations, the closures, we have a different version of time. Time to be. Time to wait. Time to learn. Time to reprioritize. Time to refocus. Time to do nothing.
So how do we spend our time? With intention or with abandon? Does it matter? When this is all over, will time have changed for us?