Don’t tell me about the person on your CV. Or the person you claim to be online in a search for love, or what passes for it. Try not to be selling some version of yourself when you answer. You’re alone in your house or apartment with no buyer in sight. So we’re talking about the real “you” here.

It’s a question that can easily arise during these days of solitary sequestration. What judgments are you making about what your “self” is doing, or not doing, during this time?  Where did those judgments come from? Are they really yours? How much are you still looking at whatever world is left to you within your four walls, including yourself, through someone else’s eyes?  Your goals, your ambitions, your needs, your guilts – were they, are they, really yours?

By telephone, I asked an old friend in Massachusetts — holed up with wife, two sons and a son’s girlfriend, in other words not someone in the ideally solitary situation for consideration of my inquiry.   “If you were an onion,” I said. “And we could peel away all the layers reflecting your reactions and defenses to life experiences, including experiences with other people – what would be at the core?” A bad metaphor to use with this particular friend. At the moment, he’s cooking all the meals for five full-grown people.  No surprise that he parried, “Not much to cook with! I’d need another onion!”

So forget onions.  I still think it’s a good question to ponder though, now that we have the time. Almost like a daily mini-psychotherapy session on your own couch. Or an hour at your desktop with “Clean My Mac X.” And if you arise from couch, or desk chair, somewhat liberated, or cleansed, of layers of self-judgment or other gunk that’s been weighing you down and/or slowing you up, then maybe this coronavirus lockdown thing will turn out to have been good for whoever “you” is, as well as for the rest of us.