“Are you taking any time off?”

A colleague and I were chatting about life in general during an age of the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine. She asked if I was planning to still take time off despite the fact that my three trips between May and July have officially been cancelled.

“Wedding cancelled in May, Ecuador trip that I’d be leaving for tomorrow is not happening, and my Sri Lanka trip at the end of June/early July just got cancelled and refunded,” I said to her. “If I’m not traveling, what exactly would I be taking time off for?”

“You can go to the park!” she suggested. “Read a book! Exercise more!”

I sulked further. “I go to the park for a walk nearly every single day when the weather is good since I live two blocks away. I’ve read 11 books this year already when my usual goal is 12 books per year. And I exercise every morning before work in my bedroom! I’m doing everything! I’m even doing all these cooking projects I kept adding to my list but never getting to!”

“WHY ARE YOU SO PRODUCTIVE?” she exclaimed. “I do nothing outside of work on the weekdays, and my only activities are on the weekends!”

I’ve always been obsessed with productivity and efficiency. It’s a really good and a really bad thing. I obsessively look at the time no matter what I am doing. So when quarantine first began, I told myself that I had to make the most of all this anti-social, no travel, no life-outside-of-the-home time. I wanted to maximize everything I possibly could: the podcasts to listen to, books to read, lists to organize, nooks and crannies to clean in the apartment, videos to edit for my channel, cooking projects to test out and film, increase my social media presence for YMF. All the things I could do within the apartment to be efficient and productive are all the things I immediately thought about as lockdown began.

But all of that seems exhausting sometimes. Sure, I’m happier because I’ve done a lot of these things, such as edit a ton more videos than I would have if COVID-19 had not hit, or read a lot of amazing books that had me completely hooked, but everything just seems so mundane when you have nothing tangible to look forward to, whether that’s a restaurant to try out, an oldie to go back to, or a new destination to explore.

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