For the past two weeks, I haven’t gone out much.

Actually, I should probably clarify that a bit, because my normal work from home routine hasn’t changed nearly as drastically as most people’s has. What I should say is that I’ve gone out even less than normal. The trips back and forth to school, running to the post office, back and forth to church, random errands – all that has stopped. Even for someone who’s been a bit of a shut-in before this, the change has been drastic.

So why do I unlock our front door every morning as I head to my office?

Fact is, we’re not going anywhere except for maybe a walk. Nobody is stopping by. So what’s the point? I could easily unlock the door whenever I needed to – it certainly doesn’t warrant its own step in the morning routine (or its own blog post), right?

For me, this ritual started out as a reflex that I didn’t give much thought into a conscious act. Flipping that lever from locked to unlocked has become a way to tell myself that even if I’m in here, the world is still out there. That I’m welcoming the world into my home, even if it’s not the way I’d like it to be.

I see it as similar to when Stephen King and other writers talk about having a set routine for their writing time. They make themselves available at a certain time or for a certain amount of time. That if you do this long enough, the words show up – whether it’s from some muse (as King says in On Writing) or because your brain has been trained to use that as fertile creative time.

However you want to look at it, you’re basically turning the sign over on your mental storefront from closed to open. I just happen to have a deadbolt that does the trick.