Since the 17th of March, we’re all quarantined. What a time to be alive, what a strange year it already is. While I wanted to be able to work a bit more from home, I must admit this went a bit overboard even for my taste. But we have to deal with what’s happening a day at a time.

First a check on my state of mind. Being more of an introvert, I must admit this quarantine doesn’t affect me as much as other people. I’m able to dedicate a bit more time to myself, and live according to my own rhythm. This made me realize that even like this my days keeps on going at full speed and that I didn’t have the time to accomplish all the things that I wanted to, so I lowered a bit my expectations.

A bit before the quarantine I decided to tackle my To-Read list, starting from the bottom. I was able to lend some books from the library and started to read a lot of different things: Georges Bernanos, Nathan Filer, Anne Frank, Paolo Giordano. I’m currently in the middle of a very interesting book about Freud from Michel Onfray. While I must say I wasn’t very affectionate about Freud before reading it, this book only confirm a lot of what I was thinking.

I’m following two online cursus, one teaching me how to draw (again) (and I’m a bit behind this one as you can see below), the other one about being a life coach. While I don’t know if this is a path I want to take, I must admit this one force me to go deep inside my mind and force some questions about myself I was reluctant to ask. Still I’m at 25% of the cursus, so there’s quite a path ahead of me for the time going.

A drawing of what we can see outside of our balcony from our street

Regarding work a lot of things changed in the last weeks. Some bad but a lot of things changed for a better. I’m looking forward the coming months and how things are going to evolve. As usual I’m a bit frustrated about how slow things are moving, but I realized this was something I had to work on for myself.

Last week, I also finally decided to leave Facebook. While I didn’t want to make a lot of noise about this decision, I must say that it was necessary. In the times we’re living, a lot of people are frightened and tend to post a lot of stupid things because of their fear. Facebook made me more and more realize what set me apart from some friends than what made us closer. The more I stayed there, the more I realized how different we were and a lot of their actions made me quite angry because of them being totally biased and illogical. I decided to remove my account to avoid seeing all of this, and can’t draw conclusions yet but I must admit I way more calm.

Since the beginning of the quarantine, I also started posting some cards from a set called “So…” on Instagram. Those cards ask interesting questions about ourselves, and it allowed me to open myself a bit more while also connecting with a lot of people I wasn’t talking enough to for several times. This made me discover a lot of interesting sides of those people and the exchange we have almost everyday are really warming my heart.

A picture of the set of cards with the Daily Stoic book from Ryan Holiday

During this quarantine, I also realized how a lot of us tend to dig deep into our biases, thinking “this is it, this is the moment” our paradigm will change. I saw a lot of people thinking that this was the collapsing point of our civilization, some others thinking it was the end of times, … While I think we might learn some lessons from this, I’m afraid we will simply quickly go back to how things were before with small improvements. We’re after all creatures of habits, willingly or not.

Things I think we should see after the quarantine:

  • A bit more scrutiny about some expenses of our states. And more spendings on health care and prevention. After all 9/11 increased expenses on security, same path should be followed.;
  • More laws and regulations about trading and perhaps a bit more scrutiny about how each country handles health;
  • Some companies will refocus on producing things locally. China will still remain a big part of the production chain for big companies I think, but smaller ones will tend to go more local. This will be safer for them while also being a good marketing argument;
  • For a lot of us, we should integrate a bit more remote in our working lives. For those dreaming of a full remote work, I’m afraid this isn’t it, this can be observed by the way a lof of companies handle the remote at the moment, overloading their employees with video-meetings and calls. However at the end of our quarantine it would be our duty to ask for more rework. We now have a working proof of how possible remote work is, this is our card to play;
  • While I think this could be a momentum for ecologist political groups, I’m afraid more people will take the far right path. People are frightened and at the beginning of the pandemic we saw a lot of people acting in a racist way toward asian people, I’m afraid this will be reflected in the next elections;
  • Unfortunately we will see a lot of job losses. A lot of companies won’t survive this crisis. For a lot of startups, I think this is for the best, as unfortunately a lot fo them are constructed on a pure bullshit foundation, this is the chance for a clean slate and a demonstration of the survival of the fittest. However I’m more worried about all my freelance friends working with companies which are a bit lost about remote work and stopped contracts. I just hope they will survive those strange times. I started mailing some small shops and sending money for “futur orders after the quarantine“, hoping this will help them get through.

I don’t know exactly when this will end, I hope this will be over by the beginning of June but still, a lot of things are still unknown at the moment. While I’m not having a hard time, I must say that I miss seeing a lot of my friends and my family. And I’m looking forward to seeing them again once this is all over.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves, be patient, be strong, we’ll get through this. Sending all my positive thoughts and vibes to all of you.

Simon Vandereecken

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