Faced with the COVID changes in our lives during these past months and how much time we have been left to our own without external distractions, many of us are learning a lot about ourselves. We might have discovered that we are extroverts who thrive on social interaction, or introverts who are recharged by solitude, or omniverts who are a sort of crossbreed of the two.

Robin Conte lives with her husband in an empty nest. To contact her or to buy her new column collection, “The Best of the Nest,” see robinconte.com.

I, for one, have realized that I am more of an “cawnfigovert,” which is to say, a person who is Content Alone When Nothing Fun Is Going On.

Anyway, I liken this period of time to the old novelty store soap, the one that you’d wash away until it revealed a surprise figurine buried within. During these months of relative seclusion, we’ve been paring down the layers of our lives to the basics, and in so doing, finding our true selves, so to speak.

At least, I did that. I washed away the inches of my metaphorical soap until I found that, buried deep within, my surprise figurine is a person who likes monotony.

For me, this has been a time of self-awareness. I have raised my kids and had my share of experiences, and I have learned that, at this point, I do not need to meet lofty goals for fulfilment.  I’m quite happy when my accomplishment of the day is filling the bird feeder. My goal for next week is to make a batch of hummingbird food. Every time I do start to be productive, Netflix interrupts me and reminds me to keep watching that show I started two nights ago.

More than that, I have learned that even if all I have to do to attend a meeting is roll out of bed and logon, I will still be late.

But that’s just me.

Some of us have learned that given a bit of unscheduled time, we will use it to write a book, build a treehouse, or plant corn. Some of us made best friends with the pizza delivery boy. Some of us of became the pizza delivery boy.

Some of us learned to pivot, start a new business, or restart the old one.

Some of us perfected the art of making sourdough bread. Others burned our homemade biscuits, with every attempt. Some of us have learned that we can make a delicious cocktail from cucumber water and muddled basil (kudos to my genius neighbor).

Some of us sent cards to friends, made sandwiches for strangers, or made masks, for both friends and strangers.

Some of us started teaching our children, and some of us discovered how much they have been learning from us, all along.

Some of us prayed, and some of us are still praying.

Some of us learned exactly which kind of Scrabble player we are. (We are either the type of player who can only come up with 3-letter words, or we are that formidable opponent who can form “ischemia” without breaking a sweat and garner 48 points with a single well-placed “OX.”)

Some of us read, some of us listened, some of us watched. Hopefully, all of us learned.

Some of us made night after night of delectable meals and yet resisted the temptation, every time, to post photos of them on Instagram.

But through it all, I think we have also learned an important commonality, in that no matter who we are and where in the world we live, given the chance to work from home, most of us would rather do so in our underwear.

Robin Conte

Robin Conte lives with her husband in an empty nest in Dunwoody. To contact her or to buy her new column collection, “The Best of the Nest,” see robinconte.com.