Friends of Coveteur on How They’re Finding Unexpected Joy in Quarantine
Wine on the stoop, socially distant hangs—and roller skates!
As Dickens once said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” But if you keep reading, later in that sentence he continued, “it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope.” And that’s what quarantine has felt like for us: the season of darkness, but also, in small, strange, unexpected ways, the spring of hope.
None of us could have prepared for this, none of us would have chosen it, and there has definitely been a lot of darkness over the past few months. But there have also been small slivers of light between the shadows, and we’re trying to focus our attention there as much as humanly possible.
So we asked our friends: What’s bringing you unexpected joy during quarantine? Their answers are inspiring—and brought us a little bit of hope.
Writer and curator Legacy Russell, author of Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto and the Associate Curator of Exhibitions at The Studio Museum in Harlem
“I have to say that my joys during this time have turned to the moments of quiet—sitting on my stoop with a glass of wine and some good tunes playing, watching the world. I’ve found the sonic experience of March to present to be exhausting, constantly processing so much loss and change and with such great concern about the future of the world. The silences I work to make now feel resonant, complex, intentional, urgent, more than ever before.”
“Closeness to my friends and community of entrepreneurs. Every phase of this quarantine has required more intimate connecting, since large gatherings are out. When we had to be inside all of the time, it was small group Zooms and watch or listen parties for Instagram Verzuz battles or Club Quarantine. Now that we’re able to go outside in NYC, it’s the one-on-one stoop chats or outdoor hangs at the neighborhood bar that I love. I’m finding joy in the longish one-on-one moments in my neighborhood like never before—even when social distancing with masks on.”
“I’m feeling extra grateful these days, my greatest joy being my newborn son, Hendrix, and the time we now get to spend as a new family. I am looking at this phase as a positive opportunity to build a brighter future as we enter the next phase of chill.”
Forsyth Harmon, author and illustrator of the forthcoming illustrated novel Justine and illustrator of Melissa Febos’ forthcoming essay collection, Girlhood
“I’ve found a sense of purpose raising funds for Black Lives Matter organizations, having put together over $20,000 so far selling original watercolors. Although, in addition to bringing some joy, this activity has also made it even clearer to me how limited my contribution is. But each of us must start where we are, and that’s probably pretty good advice with regards to how we might approach each day in quarantine, too.”
Abby Morgan, CMO and co-founder of CUUP
“The opportunity to slow down and focus is bringing me more unexpected joy. It’s allowing me to learn more about myself, more about the people physically close to me in life, and limiting options that I usually have, making me either create more, think more, learn more, or just take the time to be bored more. The opportunity to be more present and really lean into what I’m feeling each day and reflect on it has been unexpected and really joyful!”
Tami Blake, founder of Free + True
“I recently dusted off my Moxi Roller Skates and started roller skating again. Learning new moves and dancing on my skates is my new happy place. I’m obsessed!”
“I’ve been taking more walks in the morning, and as someone that loves to be active, especially biking or running, taking walks has allowed me to take in my surroundings.”
“Spending time with my three daughters has brought me so much joy. We’ve put a lot of emphasis on making the ordinary things in our days fun. Since I’ve now become their teacher, in addition to being a mom and a business founder, we’ve been playing educational games, and Uno is our go-to. To make it feel a bit more special, the four of us play Uno while enjoying some (usually off-limits) snacks and dressing up—it’s like a modern-day quarantine tea party!”
Jamika Martin, founder of Rosen Skincare
“Art and creativity! It has been so hectic for me as a founder these last few months, but as I pick up more puzzles and begin writing and drawing more, I have found such peace and fulfillment with those tasks. My day feels incomplete if I don’t do something like that now.”
Margo Marrone, founder of The Organic Pharmacy
“My unexpected joy during quarantine [has been] planning dinners with my daughter. We would sit together and discuss what we would be cooking that evening, researching menus and ingredients, and then making it together. It really brings back the basic and simple pleasures and bonding. I’ve also enjoyed long walks in the park with friends (social distancing, of course) and just enjoying nature in all its magnificent glory. My own personal daily ritual is burning a little incense and spending a few moments being thankful for the things that bring me joy—it makes such a huge difference, and burning the incense is an offering that elevates the thanks.”
Sagely Naturals co-founder Kerrigan Behrens
“My four-month-old daughter has been an unimaginable source of joy. She was born in late March, less than a couple of weeks into quarantine. People have told me, ‘You would be quarantining with a newborn, anyway!’ which is true to some extent, but we basically haven’t left the house since she was born. When I am with her, it’s the only time in my life when I feel truly mindful and in the present moment. It’s been an incredible surprise to realize that my daughter makes the world stop when I’m with her.”
Ariane Goldman, CEO and founder of Hatch
“During this time, I have found unexpected joy in my ability to reframe the way I see self-care, as I need to balance homeschooling, being a CEO and a wife, and keeping sane through the joy of movement and caring for myself and my loved ones in new ways. I’ve been seeking these moments through new hobbies, including my newfound love of tennis, taking time to work out with The Class by Taryn Toomey, making the most of at-home spa days with my Tenoverten nail kit, beach walks with the family, puzzles with the girls, and a good martini.”
Esther Boykin, LMFT, the CEO of Group Therapy Associates
“As someone who is always working on the next project and gets a great deal of energy from being with people, I am finding unexpected joy in the solitude and slow pace of this phase of quarantine. Though sometimes an unfamiliar space for me to navigate, I’m learning that I need much more alone time than I ever knew. Learning more about myself in this way has been particularly meaningful and important as I try my best to prepare for whatever curveball life has in store for all of us next.”
“While it was initially quite anxiety-causing to have my schedule and strategy completely upended by shutdowns, the mental space and slowdown that the quarantine has provided have allowed me to really scrutinize parts of my workday from a perspective of ‘gratification.’ I think many of us forget to define what joy might mean to us individually, and I have realized during this time that professionally, it has become easy for me to conflate that with ‘wins’ or other markers of growth in the business. When ‘normal’ returns—whenever or whatever that is—I know I’ll be questioning new activities and plans with that lens of discernment. Another unexpected joy in this phase of quarantine? The ability to now recognize nearly all my neighborhood canines within a 10-block radius. You know, there really is some truth to the lore of dogs looking like their owners.”
Jamie Leilani Pelayo, co-founder of natureofthings
“Enjoying exploring the natural beauty of the surroundings around our home in Malibu with my two-year-old son is bringing me the most joy at the moment. It’s a unique moment to be afforded the time to walk through life at his pace and getting lost in simple things like throwing pebbles in the water or running through tall grasses. Seeing the joy that it brings him has not only brought me joy, but has also made me learn to appreciate being fully in the present much more deeply.”
Laura Schubert, CEO and co-founder of Fur
“My 5:00 PM walk around the block with my daughter and husband is what is bringing me unexpected joy at the moment! Because my husband and I are both fortunate enough to be working from home right now, and since all three of us don’t have any social obligations at this time, we are able to take a short break every evening, just us, and no phones if possible—although I do like to take pictures to capture these fleeting moments. I really relish this golden hour with my family.”
Makenna Goodman, author of The Shame
“I’m finding unexpected joy at our pond, teaching my children how to swim. It has meant we commit to the things we do have and try and find ways to share it with neighbors (safely) who also have no other options. This is a condensing feeling that is ultimately joyful, as it is, even in the slightest ways, redistributive. Also, it’s been hot, and watching my son jump off the dock at age seven into the deep part is joy!”
Want more stories like this?