A deer in headlights. That’s how I feel every single time I venture outside of my home and outside my neighborhood.
Over the past week, I’ve gotten outside more than I probably have all quarantine. To realize that I am a human being and need to be around or at least see other people with six feet plus in distance, I am trying to be more conscious and take the steps I know will just help my well-being. Weirdly, I see a sort of peace of mind even in the emptiness everywhere I go because it reminds me that everyone is doing what they can to ensure that we can protect as many people as possible from everything that is happening.
Whenever I see someone else outside, I genuinely just smile. I guess it’s our human instinct that whenever we’re deprived of being around others for so long. But for some reason, to see someone existing, making the most of the times that we are all dealing with at this point, gives me the sense of optimism that I so often feel like is dissipating as the days go by. The longer we spend having to live so far apart, the more I begin to question whether my tendencies of being an introvert are what I am. Am I an introvert? Do I really enjoy being on my own?
As a high school student, I would spend so much time on my own, exploring different coffee shops, driving to think, and felt so comfortable being alone. I enjoyed not being recognized wherever I went because it had just been the way things had been my whole life. Nothing about being well-known, heck being known outside my close friends and family, appealed to me. The anonymity of my own life was something that was a fun project. Of course, I have since learned how naive I was.
Ever since I got to college, I got used to high-density housing. I wouldn’t say I would always enjoy talking to people before I moved into a dorm, but the sporadic conversations that would happen day to day, or just giving someone a wave in the quad breathed live into however I was feeling. No matter what I would do, just seeing a friend, smiling and calling them out from afar was worth my time. This became such a routine part of my life that I never thought about how much it affected my day until it just ended.
I think, like everyone else, I am grappling with the lack of physical proximity to just every single person. While I still believe I’m introverted, I won’t deny the fact that I am still human, and I miss the chance to at least control my movements, to at least see some people beyond my family in person. It doesn’t matter how long or how short the time may be, getting away from the feeling like I’m isolated is so crucial. It keeps me looking forward to every new day. Whenever I get the chance to go outside, I can begin to get that feeling back a bit. Every trip to a local coffee shop to hopefully keep them afloat, or out to just drive, to see someone out and living, is something I don’t think any of us will ever take for granted again.
Being Noah Tesfaye #127: A Deer in Headlights? Me Outside
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