I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to have a partner in quarantine.
Someone to be bored with. Someone to create with. Someone to touch.
All over social media, I’m bombarded by #firstpic and couples making homemade pizza.
I go to the grocery store and I cannot help but feel a deep sadness as I see a couple buying two bottles of wine, laughing at the cash register. I imagine them going back to their home, curling up, and watching a movie on the couch with popcorn.
These times will be a test of their relationship too, yes, but it will also be a time they look back on as something they got through together. I know I’m romanticizing this. I know that there are couples struggling, couples fighting, couples breaking up, couples doing long-distance.
This is a time we are all having to get through—no matter if we’re alone, coupled, with a family, or on the front lines, unable to even think about the state of your aloneness.
I am trying to lean into my sadness, to allow myself to just be, in whatever way that means.
But I’m also struggling with thinking about how I want to remember this time. How do I want to look back on this isolation period with myself? And part of me wonders: if I had a partner in quarantine, would I be doing things differently?
A long time ago, I read an article on Elephant that talked about embodying the qualities you want in a partner. If there are things you admire in a potential mate, become those things yourself.
So, if you’re single in quarantine and feel like there are things you’d be doing with a partner, do them on your own. I know I’m allowed to feel sadness, to look at what I don’t have and long for it, but I also know that kind of thinking is not helpful. Instead, I can try and make this time what I need and want it to be for me—all on my own.
If I had a partner, this is what I would be doing; this is what I am going to do:
I will wear an oversized T-Shirt, no pants, and paint. I won’t care about the mess; I’ll let the paint get on my skin, on my face, in my hair.
I’ll make coffee in the morning, early, as the sun rises. And I’ll drink it from bed while I write in the notes app on my phone.
I’ll stretch and do a morning yoga session, with indie music playing in the background. I’ll massage my own hands, my shoulders, my neck. I’ll practice doing handstands.
I’ll go out for a run. I’ll turn that run into a walk and people-watch with my headphones in, and maybe I’ll be listening to a really good podcast.
I’ll make dinner. Completely from scratch. I’ll try making homemade potato gnocchi for the first time and my mum’s classic pesto recipe. I’ll have a glass of wine. Or two. Or maybe I’ll finish the whole bottle.
And if I decide not to drink that night, I’ll have a collection of herbal teas as an alternative.
And I’ll play music while I cook, my Friday evening playlist I used to always play with my family back home.
Maybe I’ll go to bed late. Or I’ll fall asleep early, because the day has been comfortably full.
I’ll wake up, my feet half in and half out of the blankets. The sun peeking in through the crack in my window.
And the next day I’ll play all my favourite songs on YouTube. And watch the same video five times over because I love it so goddamn much. I’ll play spoken word videos and cry a little bit at the one that always gets me about love.
I’ll watch all the classic movies. That list of top 50 must-sees I’ve always been meaning to work my way through.
Or I’ll watch stand-up comedy, because tonight, I need a real distraction.
I’ll read. I’ll read Beat poetry at 3 a.m. Or I’ll read Pema Chödrön, who my boss has been telling me to read more of because it will make me understand better our mission.
I think about the kind of person I want to be for someone else to want to be with. And in my loneliness, I’ll think about the ways in which I can give back.
I’ll donate. Or I’ll pay it forward.
I’ll tip the delivery driver when I’m too lazy to cook for myself.
I’ll smile at the grocery store clerk and ask her how her day is.
I’ll purchase live stream yoga classes from my studio to support small businesses.
I’ll reach out to my friends, those who are alone too.
And I’ll reach out to the ones with partners.
Because I know that despite all of this, it’s not romantic love that really matters. It is a wonderful thing to have, but there’s something more profound, more sustainable, that can quench all of our loneliness.
Even though I am single in quarantine, I am grateful for all the things I can do, for all the love I can feel, with or without a conventional relationship.