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December 7, 2020

I Love Virtual Life—Perhaps More Than I Should.

Yes, 2020: We all get it; we all love to hate it.

The endless Zoom meetings, and the absence of music events and other types of usual entertainment. But I’ve come to realize that I actually like the quarantine life. Should I be concerned about this fact? Maybe. But so far, I love it.

A few years ago, my dad hinted that I’m quite anti-social. At that time, I was going from one house party to another, so I smirked at his words. We live separately, so he wouldn’t know about my parties to their full extent. But all I could blurt out at the time was, “Anti-social?! Sometimes I think I’m overly social!”

Both of us were right to an extent. I did go out a lot at the time. But what I’ve always had was this contentedness with being on my own, this preference of being alone rather than in the company of people I didn’t fully enjoy.

This quarantine allowed us to change our social interactions to virtual ones, and for me, this has been brilliant. Here’s what I’ve experienced so far:

Virtual work

Not only do I work remotely, but my company is also 5,000 miles away. When the quarantine began, I missed the time at the office a lot. Once we were allowed to come back in, I tried to go in at least one to two times a week.

Now, I’m renting a flat on my own and really make an effort to keep it clean and neat. Working here is pure joy, especially after I finally bought a comfortable office chair.

I’m not saying it will be like this for everyone, but I always struggled with working in an environment that’s loud or where other people are not concentrated on what they are doing. I don’t like getting distracted from my work.

So, basically, when people are talking next to me or if I’m on holiday with a friend and need to do a bit of work and my friend’s in the same room, I would always need to escape to a different, quieter environment where I could fully concentrate on my work. Living on my own ensures that I always have that environment. And what can be better than working at a desk and on a chair that you carefully picked out among hundreds of options?

Virtual races

Before my first virtual race, which was a half marathon, I didn’t know what to expect. I used to love the atmosphere of running events with people’s eyes gleaming with excitement and the general public coming to support and high-five you.

Now, of course, that seems like a distant past, but I came to realize that virtual runs are not much different. There are companies in Ukraine—where I am from—that are trying their best to make virtual runs seem like real ones. There are start and finishing zones, there are some volunteers, but overall there’s no fixed schedule to when everyone should arrive at the place and start their run.

This means that there’s less stress for me to wake up on time, get there on time, and so on. I get to pick when and how I want to do my run. Of course, having some social contact during my pre-pandemic runs was nice, but I can easily go without that during a pandemic. Being able to choose my own timing is making it even more convenient.

Virtual concerts

This was a completely new concept and a pleasant surprise. I attended a virtual Dua Lipa concert and had so much fun. Here’s how it happened. I bought a ticket for 15 British pounds, which included extra bits like pre-show stuff and an afterparty. I was sent a link to join it a week in advance. I logged in when the time was right, had to wait about 25 minutes for it to start, which, surprisingly, made it feel more like a real thing as you always wait for the artist at concerts.

Then, the concert started. Initially, I sat there staring at Dua Lipa for the first one-third of the concert. Then, I sang along for the second part, which didn’t feel too odd as I was on my own. For the last part of the concert, I danced around like crazy and had so much fun.

What made this experience so good was that the concert was actually live, and I knew it was all set up for me. I didn’t have to think too hard about what to wear. I was able to use the bathroom or get a snack or drink at any time I wanted without worrying about the lines and missing the concert. The concert was literally happening in my flat.

I know I am blessed in the way that I live on my own and can afford a quiet workspace or dancing around the flat without disturbing my flat sharers. However, there are various ways of making the most of being stuck inside even when living with other people—perhaps, through revisiting what connected you in the first place.

Many people are saying that this is the new norm. Most offices will be implementing remote work even after the pandemic is gone. So, I think I am starting to love it—or, at least, find things about it that I like. This is probably the best strategy for 2020 and beyond.

~

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