The other morning I was laying on the floor when I noticed a cluster of clouds quickly float by a window.
The frame went from baby blue, to white and fluffy, and then back to a pale blue in an instant.
That afternoon, I sat on the couch and again found myself staring out of a window. My thoughts were nothing remarkable. In fact, I was just thinking about how quickly all of this time in quarantine / self-isolation / self-quarantine / social distancing / whatever you want to call it has passed. Initially the shift to a life predominantly at home was jarring. For many of us, our work and social patterns shifted (or ended) as we knew them, without much warning.
It was a loss that I mourned in pieces and then all at once. It’s a loss that I’ve continued to feel as time goes on. I’m not sure when I’ll fully be rid of all the new anxieties I’ve developed about leaving the house and disassembling packages like I’m on an episode of CSI diffusing a bomb with protective gear and a palatable amount of caution.
I know this time has been different for everyone. Some have been thrown into the depths of solitude as they quarantine alone. Others have yearned to carve out space away from their boisterous families. Some have been deemed essential by their local governments and their hours spent in the field (medical, grocery, delivery, etc.) have been nothing short of demanding and exhausting.
After all of this is over, I just want to give a giant hug to our local UPS driver, because not only has he delivered essentials to my family (medication, food, etc.), but he has also done it with obvious pride in his stride. Every carefully placed package (from the elements and/or porch pirates), every wave we’ve exchanged as I’d shout “thank you” as he walked back to his truck . . . I hope he knows that his brief appearances over the last few months have helped me feel a little bit more human (in a time when our interactions with others feel so fractured and incomplete). Now, to the FedEx drivers who have a penchant for throwing, I repeat, throwing packages . . . I am still grateful for the deliveries, but man, their literal delivery sucks.
Some have seen quarantine as a blessing, while it’s been an indelible curse for others. For me, I think it’s been a bit of both. I’ve learned so many new things that I’m excited to carry forward in whatever a “new normal” looks like. I have also spent many nights (that inevitably trail into the next day) enveloped in distress, anxious about reconciling what was with the uncertainty of what will be.
It’s been really dissociative to live with so much fear and this very real inability to plan for the future. All of that being said, these are some of my silver linings I have gathered from my own quarantine experience thus far:
- I have been more intentional with friends and family over the phone, through letters and emails, and in socially-distanced drop offs of goods and care packages. Even though I can’t literally give them a hug right now, their virtual presence has been a saving grace.
- I have worked on my personal relationships. I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time by myself, ever. My trains of thought with myself and conversations with others have exposed vulnerabilities years of therapy could not have unearthed. I am starting to realize how to pare down life’s incessant “go go go” mentality to an existence at a slower pace that still feels worthy and fulfilling.
- I have learned how to (and how not to) take care of a home, including: the best ways to keep fruits and vegetables alive, the in’s and out’s of laundry, appliance maintenance (if I had a dollar for every time our fridge and/or freezer has literally had a meltdown during all of this . . . ), and all of the in-betweens. For instance, did you know that after you change your water filters, you have to flush the filters really well, otherwise your water will taste fishy for WEEKS? Yep, I didn’t know that either. Another fun fact: magic erasers aren’t all that magical. They’re actually made out of a very fine sandpaper material . . . and if you use it to “erase” spots on your nicely painted walls, not only will they make the spots disappear, but they’ll also take off some paint, too. Then, if you’re like me and you’ve done this in patches all over your walls, you’ll unfortunately find out that the only way to fix this is to repaint the WHOLE wall. Adulting is so much fun . . .
Well, now I digress with my bit about magic erasers, but my jist is it’s pretty wild that the entire world is experiencing what’s going on in one way or another. While some places in the world have shut down completely (like, you need a letter saying why you’re not inside your home to show to the police), other places have only been moderately inconvenienced (like having your Sephora order delayed by a few days or having to order take out from your favorite restaurant instead of actually eating it there in-person).
As some places in the United States are starting to open up this week, I wanted to jot down some of my reflections on all of this thus far. I hope to look back on all of this and see positives from an otherwise very scary, very unpredictable period in history.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not all rainbows and butterflies over here. Currently, I’m trying to hold down lunch because my anxiety’s at a 7 or 8 about wedding shiz I literally have no control over . . . but I’m trying to remind myself that at the end of the day, I can only control how I feel about today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not next month.
On that note, it’s time for me to go outside and absorb some sunshine before I get scurvy. That’s how that works, right? Or maybe I should just go eat an orange? Either way, arggggh, matey!