One of the most intriguing parts of quarantine is having the time and space to “find yourself.” For some, that means lots of soul-searching and active effort to make themselves better, inside and out; for others, that means binging “Bridgerton” until they resign themselves to the fate that they will never be loved by a mildly attractive British man (and thus deserve absolutely zero rights). However, one incredibly prominent experience is reverting back to phases that we all experienced in the most formative years of our lives, such as in middle school. Thus, here, for your viewing pleasure, are 10 of the mid-quarantine phases, ranked and psychoanalyzed by yours truly.
Disclaimer: I have also been through these phases, so all of these jabs are also directed at myself. I feel your pain.
- Kids’ shows
Were you — rightfully so — obsessed with “Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman” as a kid? Did you happen to be wholeheartedly invested in “Spongebob,” “iCarly,” or even “TUFF Puppy?” If you rewatched any of these types of shows over quarantine, you are definitely clinging to a part of your childhood that you miss: the freedom to watch television without the fear of impending deadlines. Bonus points for now searching for gay subtext in every show by yourself without watching a two hour-long video essay about it first.
- Puzzles/elementary school-level crafts
You enjoy the simpler things in life. However, for the past couple of years, you’ve done nothing but focus on academics, so you may have lost touch with a more creative side of yourself. Puzzles and simple crafts, such as bracelet-making or paint-by-numbers, are easy tasks to do while going completely head empty that also leave you with a finished product. That way, you feel less bad about possibly wasting your time. Bonus points if you’ve also tried to pick up/relearn an instrument over quarantine.
- Conspiracy theory rabbit holes
Did you watch Shane Dawson in his conspiracy phase or “Gravity Falls” (and follow the finale’s ARG) back in the day, or did you recently discover YouTube channels like “Night Mind” or “Dad?” Either way, the absurdity of our current situation — being in a “panoramic” and all — has led you to explore other absurd events that can only potentially be explained. Bonus points if you religiously tune in for every new “Buzzfeed Unsolved” episode.
- Cooking shows
You definitely veered towards a mental breakdown after the “Bon Appetit” fiasco went down and you definitely obsessed over the newest season of your favorite emotional support show, “The Great British Baking Show.” Not only did you have a home cooking/baking phase of your own at the start of quarantine, but you may have also set up a separate Instagram account for your new culinary endeavors. Bonus points for continuing to support Sohla on the “Binging with Babish” team or for binge watching “Chef’s Table.”
- Old-school YouTube
You definitely had an “Undertale” phase in some way, shape, or form. If you didn’t, you had a serious existential crisis about cancel culture after Jenna Marbles left YouTube (or maybe you experienced both). Whether you’ve gone back to gaming channels like “The Game Theorists,” “Markiplier,” or “Jacksepticeye,” or more general classics like “Nigahiga” or “Smosh” circa-2012, you miss having inside jokes with friends that lasted for longer than a couple of days on TikTok.
- Mid-2010s music
You are obsessed with the new coming of Taylor Swift and you’re not afraid to say so. In addition, you can most likely recite either all of Harry Styles’ “Fine Line” or recognize a Panic! at the Disco song within three seconds. You miss how YouTube Rewind used to make you feel and you found yourself becoming a fan of musical artists that you used to hate back when they were popular. Bonus points if you have a playlist dedicated to Minecraft parody music or you’re making plans to go to the next Warped Tour.
- Any fandom-based social media
Whether it was “Harry Potter,” “Sherlock,” or “Dan and Phil,” you were bit hard by the fandom bug. You may have forgotten what it was like to have online friends, or maybe you always had them, but quarantine strengthened your relationships with your fandoms and their source content. You may have moved into new fandoms over the years, but your passions and frustrations stay the same. Bonus points if you’ve become a therapist for your online friends… again.
Maybe you just started getting into it over the initial quarantine — possibly even winter break — or maybe you just got back into groups/shows you had been casually stanning while classes became busy, but the amount of your feed that is dedicated to fan edits is absolutely astonishing. If you can now explain the entire synopsis of “One Piece” or can name all of the 23 members in NCT, you really went through it over quarantine. Bonus points if you spent money on merch or reopened a fandom-centric social media account.
Similar to the other stan culture social media entries, but somehow so much more intense. You either had an AO3 account or made one over quarantine and the amount of mediocre writing you have read makes you feel as if you’ve lost brain cells, but the hidden gems keep you going. You know way too many adjectives — to the point where you are basically a human thesaurus — and any time you hear the word “orbs” it stresses you out to a hilarious degree. Bonus points if you started writing yourself.
“The Dream SMP” is one of the weirdest things that’s risen from the ashes of the pandemic, but if you remember “Mianite,” you aren’t completely surprised that these “Look! That’s my favorite white boy!” Twitch streamers have taken the internet by storm. You either never stopped playing Minecraft or you got back into it as a time suck, but you unequivocally despised the “Fortnite” phase of YouTube. Bonus points if your feed was filled with Dream SMP animatics at least once.