I accepted a friendly challenge to reflect on confinement. I thought of them as wistful questions.
None of us will forget the year 2020. Our lives turned upside down, inside out, and tangled with emotion. Most of us know nothing about confinement or forced stay-at-home orders—until now.
What will you remember? Keno Ogbo challenged writers to respond to 12 questions about their experiences during this time. The future holds a level of ambiguity that tests our courage, calmness, and humor.
As I reflected on Keno’s questions, I took the liberty to change the word lockdown to confinement. I haven’t felt so much locked in as confined by circumstance and sensibility. All my freedoms remain intact, but I have willingly succumbed to limitations to protect my family, friends, and strangers.
The phrase wistful questions came to mind because I have a yearning. A deep desire pushes me toward a bit of melancholy for the past, but excitement about possibilities.
I’m simply a “cockeyed optimist” who refuses to allow fear to control my attitude or my choices. You may feel differently, and that’s okay.
What have you missed the most during confinement?
Lunch dates, outings, and a glass of wine with my best friend. Laughing, crying, and reminiscing on a life well lived.
“True happiness consists not in the multitude of friends but in the worth and choice.” —Ben Johnson
What’s the best thing about being in confinement?
Realizing that everything I truly need in the world is here.
“Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you.” —Lao Tzu
What has been the worst thing about being in confinement?
Watching loss, pain, and despair.
We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face… we must do that which we think we cannot. —Eleanor Roosevelt
Who would you have liked to host in your home during the confinement and why?
My grandmother, so she can tell me her story.
In every conceivable manner, the family is a link to our past, bridge to our future. —Alex Haley
What have you discovered about yourself in confinement?
I am enough.
“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” —Oliver Wendall Holmes
What did you eat (or drink) the most during the confinement?
Fresh vegetables from the garden—but I really love chocolate!
“Chocolate comes from cocoa, which is a tree. That makes it a plant. Chocolate is a salad.”
Apart from sleeping and working what activities did you undertake the most during the confinement?
“In the middle of the world, make one positive step. In the center of chaos, make one definitive act. Just write. Say yes, stay alive, be awake. Just write. Just write. Just write.” —Natalie Goldberg
Will you come out of confinement heavier or lighter?
I am learning and choosing to live with less.
Collect moments, not things. — Paulo Coelho
What resource has helped you most during the confinement
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you will live forever. —Mahatma Gandhi
What is your top tip for other people in confinement right now?
Be and become your best wherever you are.
“Everyone has inside of him a piece of good news. The good news is that you don’t know how great you can be! How much you can love! What you can accomplish! And what your potential is.” —Anne Frank
How has confinement changed you?
I am ever-evolving.
Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. —Rumi
If you were to leave a ‘message in a bottle’ for the future, what would you say?
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.” —Saint Francis de Sales