What Quarantine Taught me I could Live without


Hi everyone,

How is your quarantine going? Let’s talk about one specific aspect of this suddenly-imposed-on-us: how things that we thought were so important and we could not live without went out of our lives.

A small change for me is cappuccino. I am not a huge coffee person. But I would want to have cappuccino every three or four days. When I wanted it, I had to have it.

Surprise. I did not have cappuccino in weeks and yet I have not craved for it yet.

I also thought I had to go out almost every day, even if a little bit. I thought I had to go out when I wanted to do it. I would stay home for a whole day one or twice a week but that was it. Now, I have been home weeks and I am not complaining.

What does this show us? It shows us that most things we base our lives on is not vital. And we are living our lives with temporary ideals and we get stuck with fleeting patterns. How much time did my obsession with going out every day cost me? A lot. Of course, we will go out at times; we need the sun. But if we say we can’t live without it, then we base our life on a false premise. It makes us dependent.

This realization now shows me that I want to search for more stable things. One thing is myself. I can lose everything but I will always with me. So, I am trying to focus on myself. I want to understand my place in this universe.  Meditation, yoga or just aimlessly resting.  I hope to find my place beyond the fleeting patterns and obsessions. Let’s see where this will take me.

Have you been noticing similar things? What did you think you could not live without but it turns out you can? What did this realization show you? Let’s discuss.


256 thoughts on “What Quarantine Taught me I could Live without

  1. In all honesty I’m loving the LOCKDOWN season, maybe we can make it part of every year? We live near an airport, and I don’t miss the sound or pollution of jets flying over. Keeping local has been a real blessing, getting to know new paths and bridleways (on my bike).

    What can I do without? Certainly I haven’t missed work, but I would miss my colleagues if things don’t return to normal.

    In my spare time I’m reading more, both for myself and grandchildren. It’s also great fun to get out and deliver prescriptions on a voluntary basis for the housebound.

    Be careful of putting the focus on yourself, we are on this earth for a purpose, and serving others is probably one of the best keys to fulfilment.

    1. It seems the quarantine is treating you well! I think I have similar feelings too. An additional point: I am loving the bird’s sounds every day on our balcony! Such a calm time!

  2. I can easily live without pointless human busyness (it seems the wildlife agrees too). I don’t understand why we force people to go to offices when so many jobs can be done from home.

    1. I haven’t craved Starbucks too much but in saying that I believe it reopens on Monday and will be straight there for a big americano 😉

  3. I discovered that I have found my stride working at home full-time. I am so much happier skipping the commute and working at home full-time. The energy of my home is much more supportive. My husband and I enjoy working at home together, checking on each other now and then. I always thought it would be nice but would never happen – and then it did! Sometimes what you want is even better than we expect.

      1. I belong to a worldwide choral organization, Sweet Adelines International. And have been singing at least twice weekly with either a chorus or quartet for over 30 years. Its a way of life. Losing that has been so hard, and all the zoom and virtual stuff just isnt the same. But i quit my chorus this week. Because it isnt the same. Music will come back, and for now my quartet is just enjoying the friendship and joy of spending time together when we can. But losing that creative voice of song has pushed me to my new blog here. And i’m so enjoying that now.

      2. Hi Madeline! I am sorry for my late reply. I was on a long break. We needed to adapt in certain ways but I think that is an opportunity to discover other sides of us. Or at least how we can deal with changes. I am sorry that you cannot attend the choral organization in person anymore but that day will come again:)

  4. I think there is tremendous benefit in understanding that we are not our habits and preferences. And to the people who have lost jobs- we are not the identity that work (or service) gives us. There is wisdom in using this time to meditate and do yoga to discover who you are beneath these things. I applaud your instincts here.

    1. True! We are more than our habits and jobs. Losing our job can be an intimidating experience, but hopefully it will be ok in the long run, especially if we can understand ourselves better with self-reflection. Then, we will know what we want better.

  5. This is great! This lockdown has definitely shown me that myself and zillions of other folks have learned things about themselves that we genuinely didn’t know before! I’ve always been OK being home. I love to read, I’ve discovered that I love to write (so I started blogging consistently since the lockdown), I love spending time with my kids, and I love trying to stay positive amidst all the craziness every day too! There’s always something to be thankful for! At least, in my opinion, there is! Looking forward to more of your thoughts! Thanks for sharing!

    1. There is indeed always something to be grateful for! Your way of handling the quarantine sounds very peaceful! Also welcome to the blogging world! How do you like it so far?

      1. Aww why thanks! I am actually really enjoying it! Still new, but figuring it out day by day! I like getting my thoughts out for sure!

    2. The only thing I miss is going for walks. Had to stop that due to extra risk for myself and those I care for in terms of exposure. Oh yeah and I also miss going to the store without fear that it will result in me dying later on! Can relate to your post and you did a good job!

      1. Thank you! There are things we miss but we just need to show patience with it. Pandemics happen every 100-200 years, apparently. This is our share.

      2. Thank you!! I definitely relate to yours as well! I only hope that our new normal happens soon but allows for everyone to stay safe too! We shall see!

  6. This time has given me more time for Bible study. I have gotten to know my neighbors better and we have helped each other out. I made masks and gowns on my sewing machine for the hospital nurses. I have had several picnic lunches in my garage with one friend at a time which was wonderful since I live alone. I miss traveling but I watch old YouTube videos about others travels. I’m greatful for this time. I attended a small church Sunday which was wonderful to worship together.

  7. You’re right. Most things we think we need, we definitely don’t. It’s a great lesson that’s going to kill some industries, but change is a part of the human condition.

  8. I can relate of this post. After several weeks I am trying to compare what I was doing before that I am not doing now and how much that was necessary. I realized I do have more than I need (or even want). Like you, my cappuccino has been on hold, and I am doing fine as well. Great post.

  9. I think its a testament to people’s innate goodness that they are able to find the good in troubling situations. Many now have had the time to delve deeper and explore themselves on a personal level, and this is time well-spent! There is a freedom one can find in the heart during this time, but our social freedoms should not continue to be lessened in the process. There are many who have not had it easy, and it is time to get back to work. That cappuccino provided livelihoods for employees and business owners, and there is an enjoyment for you that can support a fellow citizen’s business. Nothing wrong with that! It is great to not NEED it, though, too. I feel for those industries who have been hit the hardest – especially nail salons; so many may not recover. I don’t see things returning to the way they were before, but I do think our business models may change for the better to include more work-from-home opportunities. I just pray most of these smaller “non-essential” businesses can recover.

    1. I know it is hard for a lot of people. I think it is early to get back to full normal yet, looking at how previous pandemics worked their way through. States should provide extra support for the non-essential businesses and the workers there until we can be at a better, less contagious phase.
      Overall, though, this has been a good time to reflect on things in life in more detail. So, that is good.

  10. It’s an odd combination: feelings of both peace and loss.
    What I miss? Browsing – I don’t care for shopping online, so when I can’t touch and inspect and saunter through a store, I feel my purchases are a little dry. But, yes, I can live long and sound without it.
    Home is my favorite place and I freelance, so my world isn’t dramatically changing. The one thing I’ve missed most of all is my family… only 10 minutes away, but – up until now-ish – unhuggable. Stay safe, my lovelies and God’s peace…xoxox

  11. I agree entirely. I’m actually truly enjoying lockdown. The most intensive retreat I’ve ever had! And I’m not so sure I want to go back to normal, because a lot of our ‘normal’ I didn’t like in the first place. It is also true that most of the things that seemed utterly important to me seven weeks ago show themselves to me now irrelevant, utterly as well.

    I’ve been rediscovering the park nearby, falling in love with it, my senses as a child’s, full of wonder. Of course I miss seeing the people I love in person and not through a screen, and of course there is a great deal of sadness and fear, the suffering of the world is so enormous. But I do hope that we will come out of this into a better world, being our better selves.

    As for my daily session of work at a cafe with a decaf espresso, which I thought my inalienable right, I find to my surprise that I haven’t died from abstinence! My own coffee and my own desk are good enough.

    1. I love everything about your comment, especially the last paragraph (that you didn’t die from abstinence). This process will be hard in general, but as you say, the end will be good. Most good things come out of difficulties. We needed to be shaken off like this.
      Also, I am enjoying the quarantine as well!

      1. You are quite right when you say that we needed to be shaken off like this. The world just couldn’t go on as it was, it had to tear somewhere. The pandemic was that tear. We really needed to stop. It is of course very hard, but I hope we will learn. We must! We actually have no choice…

  12. Hi,

    Good to read that so many people are finding positives in lockdown.

    I’m finding lockdown good and bad. I appreciate the extra time I have through not having to travel to work. I also appreciate (now I’ve achieved it!) the way that it has pushed me to become more proficient at using videoconferencing software (e.g. Zoom) to do my work of seeing clients.

    I have missed meeting my friends, although now restrictions are being lifted slightly where I live, and coffee shops can now have customers sitting in the shop. I also miss the social nature of exercise at the gym, and aquarobics. I thought that I would read more books than I have managed to do!

    I’m lucky that I’m not alone in the house, so I do feel for people who are in that situation….


    1. I have also found it hard to get social interactions out of my life, but I think I got used to it to a certain extent. That being said, I would very happily go back to the social life I had before the quarantine if restrictions were lifted and the virus died down.

      I think we just need to be patient and see what we can do in the given situation. It is temporary after all.

  13. I really appreciate reading your post and totally agree! There is so much that we can live without and for me I keep seeing how much I already have. Enjoy your day!

  14. After nearly two months of restrained socializing and not working I now take about two hours after I get out of bed to get into my day. I read for an hour. I stretch for 20 minutes, I meditate for 30 minutes, eat mindfully and go for a walk on a nearby trail.
    Then I get into my day. I am getting concerned about giving this up when I go back to work. It would require me getting out of bed at 5 am instead of 7. Well, I guess I could do that, or quit working!

    1. I was off work for four months a couple of years ago (when I worked as an employee in an office), and also wondered how I would cope when I had to get back into the work routine. I found that once I started, I was back in the same old routine of getting up early, and getting to work on time. I was also able to do my ‘personal stuff’ like shopping and socialising in the time available after work and at weekends.

      So, you’ll probably find that you get back into the routine easier than you think!

    2. I feel you! I am actually loving this new peace I found and I don’t want to give it up. I wish we could continue this while working as well!

      1. Really enjoyed the “Things I Can Live Without”. In particular the realization that what we based our lives on was basically unimportant. And your search for stability really resonated with me. You turned inward to yourself. Truly you are always with you. Funny sounding but true. I turned inward also but turned to my deep to find meaning in all of this. And like you I found I had been basically running in circles instead of taking the straight path. You made me think.

      2. I am glad it resonated with you and that it made you think. We should all utilize this time for self-reflection. We may not get a time like this again.

  15. I still go to work everyday so lockdown hasn’t had as huge of an impact. I do have coworkers who are working from home and they sound as if they’re about to climb the walls.
    I focus on the things I can control and try to support local businesses to help them weather this storm.

  16. I realized I’m not a frugal buyer. Quarantine helped me be more frugal because medication bills are high and freelance gigs are few and far between. I only buy what I need and spend most money on pets nowadays.

      1. I like your take on qurantine and agree that it is an eye opening time for some people. For me, I think lockdown has made me realise how much stuff I was using in the outside world to motivate myself e.g. gym for exercise and the library setting/cafe setting for being productive etc. So during lockdown I have learnt to adapt: I have learnt lot of strategies inside my own home to keep myself motivated, and have learnt to exercise at home which I never properly tried before. There are some things I don’t miss much (cinema, shopping, journeying by public transport) and things I do miss (gym, swimming, cafes). There have been times things have felt easy/actually nicer, and other times which have been difficult and I’ve needed to adapt my lifestyle . Ive also become closer to nature through my walks, (happily) have been spending way less, surprised myself by being pretty content chatting to friends and family virtually instead of in person, and have worked on skills I did not put effort into learning before qurantine because I’d go out instead. Overall, a mixed bag for me but I’ve learnt a lot.

      2. I think I relate to almost everything you say and it is actually a good feeling to have gone through this process. I am also learning how to motivate myself outside of my usual motivation factors. The biggest challenge for me was to adapt to studying at home all the time. I was already ok with it before, but I switched back and forth between home and cafes. Studying at home all the time was challenging but I am learning how to do it.
        Sorry for my late response. I took a long break.

  17. Miss having a chance to visit more with family and friends. We liked socializing. Definitely found out we do not have to go out to eat that often. Miss our church community. Life is flying by too fast.

    1. I miss social interactions too and I think that is the main thing I miss. But I am telling myself that this is temporary and it will be over at some point.

  18. The best events that I find total satisfaction with is with the whole world almost coming to a halt Mother Nature stepped up with people seeing mountain ranges for the very first time in their towns, air pollution is way down and the oceans and the life within are teeming with life. I’m nervous that when it all goes back to whatever our new normal is will go back to the way it was before the coronavirus. Being shut-in didn’t really change for my husband and me for we are older staying home a lot as a rule. It’s defiantly been a time for reflection.

    1. Yes, it was so interesting to see how much of a difference a few weeks made in nature and I am all for it. Both we and the nature needed this break, I guess.

  19. Well said. The trick will be to stick with the discovery even when the lockdown lifts, which surely it will at some point. And not slide back into the same unthinking dependent routine.

  20. During this quarantine, I’ve actually replaced coffee with a completely new drink of my own design. It probably costs more per cup than a coffeeshop cappuccino though :/

      1. it’s my unique combination of products. I’ve been wondering if it’s something other people would like to drink 😛

  21. I honestly thought I would struggle without being able to play ultimate frisbee. To be without regular low-stress exercise that was at the same time each week, and with people I enjoyed spending time with. Turns out, as long as I get enough sunshine to fill up my Vitamin D reserves, and go for regular walks to keep my muscles and joints happy.

    What has kept me going is writing often, playing music, and actively resting.

    Thank you for your words and your questions.

      1. It absolutely is. I guess the saying “We don’t know what we have until it’s gone”, really rings true. And some things we might be happier to be without, or, actually not need.

  22. This Lock Down time has led me to amazing things. I became focussed of the phrase ‘Plague Invasion’, and then decided it was important not to lose the stories of how people are coping with this strange new life. So I began posting requests for submissions of poetry and prose, in response to Covid-19. The response has been awesome, and I am well on the way to having a fantastic anthology that I hve decided to publish.It’s been a weird tome for sure, but not in a bad way for me. It’s exciting to read the wonderful pieces of writing people have submitted, almost all of if is definitely fit for publishing.

      1. Thanks for the question. People have written about events that have occurred in direct consequence of this virus (a nurse being attacked by ignorant others in India), having to stay at home – including finding meaning in life as a consequence of having to remain at home instead of going off to work. And early on, of course, there was the toilet paper shortage …

        Anything that relates in any way to this whole Covid crisis, could be possible for this anthology. Poetry in any style, or prose.

        I look forward to reading what you may submit, if you wish to.

  23. For me definitely shopping. I didn’t shop that much lately anyway, but now at home I realize how little things, especially clothes we need. Like all of us I used to buy a lot of things I don’t need, because I thought I need them or simply wanted to have them. This has completely vanished.
    There is this thought going around right now that if we need to save the economy after people bought only what they really need for 2 months, we should re-think our system. And that’s definitely true!

    1. Hi Kristina! I totally agree! I have never been a shopper but I can see how effective this change in mindset can help. Also, sorry for my late reply. I took a long break.

  24. Have appreciated the shelter in place stops me from wandering stores just to escape thinking. This time has given me the ability mentally to slow down and truly take time to work on what has always been important to me which is finding the balance of living well emotionally and physically. My husband joked that at least we know now that we can retire together and not end up going insane. Another unseen positive for me is financially it has shown me how much I wasted on groceries and incidentals just by going in stores to pick up one thing and leaving with twenty.

    1. I was also surprised that once I stopped going outside, my expenses were cut in half! This time really showed us what we actually need and can do. Your husband’s joke made me smile too:)
      Sorry for my late reply. I was on a break.

  25. Hi, I have appreciated the time saving in not having to travel so much. I get a lot more completed – I have made myself two jumpers (crochet), and enjoyed relaxing more.

    Luckily, I can work from home, and I have learnt a lot more about how I can talk to people / clients via Zoom!

    I’v also appreciated the extra time to spend with my family, who are in the same house (although one family member lives nearby).

    It has also helped financially by savings in petrol and car costs, and also in not spending so much in the shops!

    1. Since I stopped going out, my expenses were cut in half! We are all learning what we really need to have or do and what was just extra in this process. Thank you for sharing your learning!
      Apologies for my late reply. I was on a long break.

  26. I’m one of the lucky ones! My husband and I get to act like we’re young and in love again! We have time for each other, we do activities together, walking, talking, cooking, teasing, in appreciation that we have each other in this chaotic time. I don’t miss the rat race in the old fast-paced world. I wonder how many others are finding this?

    1. Oh, that sounds so nice and I am happy for you! I think I am also not eager to get back to a fast life:)
      Sorry for late response. I was on a break.

  27. I will definitely relax and take my time getting ready for work for now on. I felt coming to work 30min earlier was the the responsible thing to do. No more. I’ll get there- it will be ok.

  28. I agree, asking myself…..what was i so busy doing? I realize that life has so much unexplored avenues and i have enjoyed the exploration journey through books, nature, sleep and many more that i am keen to discover

  29. Great post. I also have learned to do without several things during the lock down. I have completed more “chores” in twelve (12) weeks than I would have done in five (5) years if I had been allowed to continue working. I won’t bore you with the details but if we ever do get back to some degree of normal, I will have a head start on my to-do-list. Love your post. Take care.

  30. Eating out at restaurants – I can live without the weekly (sometimes multiple times a week) eating out!

    With the slower pace I have been enjoying trying new recipe’s and sitting down enjoying meals quitely with my honey on the back porch. I’m really enjoying the slower pace living!

  31. My husband and I are contemplating a move to a rural location but still wanted to be within a certain distance of amenities because we thought we needed them. Now we know we don’t really need all that much. Great post!

  32. I had COVID before Quarantine took over Brazil. It was terrible, for everybody was wandering around and I was the only person locked in a cage. To make it worse, the people I was sharing my apartment with moved away and even after I got better I had to face an unexpected loneliness I wasn’t used to.

    After being discharged, I started helping my family and some neighbours around. However, I miss people. I worked with Tourism, so I spent most of my day talking and entertaining people. Having no one to talk to is very depressing sometimes.

    I’m trying to keep in touch with family and friends through social media and video calls, but it’s just not the same. So, if I have to talk about something I can’t live without is the people I love. I certainly want to be closer to them as soon as I’m allowed to!

    Loved your post!

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience! I am glad that you feel better now but I hear when you have it, COVID may be hard to experience:(
      I try to think of this time as a temporary phase and hope that it will go away soon. Let’s just all hope that.

  33. I quit coffee! It turns out I don’t need it when working. I can have tea or just a bottle of water. Now I still enjoy coffee once a while but not every single day.

  34. Really enjoyed reading your post about what you discovered during the lock down. I hope the discoveries everyone made will stick …
    For me, the lock down made me realize that although not wealthy I was very privileged indeed! It broke my heart thinking about the people who lived from one paycheck to the other and lost their jobs had to leave in small apartments and did not have easy access to health care.
    I think for a lot people it was a wake up call about inequality in our society .
    It is exciting to see that so many people like you are examining their ifestyle and ready to build a new world !

    1. I had similar thoughts too! I also thought how privileged I am, with a job that will guarantees me and with no extra exposure to the virus. I hope that these realization will help change our world for the better!

  35. I realized the one thing I can live without is going to the movies. I was a serious movie theater buff; going 2-3 times a week or at least doing a double feature. But with the theaters closed that has not happened. They are projected to reopen next month and I have decided to not go until there is a vaccine. I just don’t want to risk it. I will continue to watch movies at home. Thanks for this post and getting us to think about the things in life we could probably do without.

  36. Thank you for sharing! I am quite perturbed that I could not go into bookstores or the libraries. Meeting up with people, not so much. I find that conversations via skype, zoom, or google meet are even more illuminating and impacting. People cannot hide their distrctability, boredom, or happiness or even joy very well when their images is the focus on a screen.

  37. This quarantine experience has shown me so much about myself as a mother, a partner, and a community member. I realize how beautiful the small moments are – and that life truly can be simple. I don’t need to hustle-bustle everywhere to be fulfilled. I truly have it all (already).

  38. So you’re still trying to understand your place in the universe. If this means that you’re still trying to understand your purpose, then I can suggest you start looking to the Qur’an.

    1. I do that. I think I am satisfied with my place with respect to God. I am trying to find what specifically I can do to strengthen that relationship. I am getting there.

  39. Not much has changed in my lifestyle with the exception of wearing masks whenever I go inside somewhere other than home. What quarantine taught me I could live without is the traffic! The roads were gloriously empty when everyone (else) was staying home.

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