In Search of Not-Yet-Lost Time

Is it really August already? After nearly five months of life in quarantine, I have almost gotten used to this slightly distorted experience of the passage of time. At first, days were only bleeding into each other, but lately, I have been encountering more and more trouble drawing clear lines between days and nights. Dreams have been more vivid than ever (there is actually a research for that on National Geographic). Yet the cup of coffee that used to prep my brain for a law school day now seems to serve a more symbolic function. Sometimes, a nostalgic function. If it weren’t for the internships, weekends would hardly make a difference to my schedule. In that sense, perhaps I do owe some of my sanity to International Bridges to Justice.

The other day, I remembered Haruki Murakami’s joke about why he has not read Proust’s In Search of Lost Time: “No, I haven’t been in jail, or had to hide out for a long time. Someone once said unless you have those kinds of opportunities, you can’t read the whole of Proust.” Quarantine is sure no jail, but I have certainly been hiding out for a while. For better or worse, I have not been reading  about some early twentieth century French dude’s internal interrogation of the perceptions of everything he experienced. But it is indeed a great opportunity to engage in my very own “search of not-yet-lost time.” Instead of focusing on the “lost time,” the more important question that demands answers seems to be the one about the future: How to re-evaluate the course of our lives to orchestrate positive changes once the crisis is over?

As law school students, we have been used to living busy lives and being constantly stressed. With the school and internships going virtual, we no longer need to get dressed up for school, commute to the internship, and get stuck in traffic. I now have a ridiculous amount of meditative quiet time of physical isolation reserved for introspection. 

Being 7331 miles away from my family, I have become more appreciative of the friendships I developed over the past year in Williamsburg. The lockdown has only brought us closer. It actually brings me comfort, as I spend more time deepening personal relationships, even if I have to do it virtually sometimes. I have also rediscovered my passion for cooking and taking long walks in the park, and even started getting reconnected with some old friends.

Things that used to frustrate me greatly, like sitting in traffic, do not seem quite as significant now. It even reminds me of the “good old days.” Sometimes, it takes a pandemic to become appreciative of the little things like that. It is a bit hard to believe that in two weeks, we will be going back to school. Maybe things will never get back to “normal” normal. Although the gift of leisure time that we had during quarantine might disappear, I will not forget to “stop and smell the rose” every once in a while.