I’m not even sure where to begin with this post. I’m sure plenty of people don’t want another take on COVID-19, since everyone is being inundated with information–some good, some…not so much; so much so, it’s hard to escape from it, and we all need to, even if it’s just for a little bit. But part of my escape, part of my dealing with things, is to “confront them” through writing that, nine times out of ten, shows up on this blog.
So, feel free to ignore this post, if you’re not interested or not in a good head space for it. <3
I live in the middle of America and right now, my boyfriend and I have been in self-isolation for 9 days, only going out for groceries or essential shopping. Today was our last day leaving the house for the foreseeable future, as we’re hoping to flatten the curve and not only do our part to limit the spread of the virus by avoiding becoming vectors ourselves, but also to give our hospitals and staff time and not continue to overwhelm them by adding more cases simply because we want to get out of the house.
I’m very lucky that my job is able to go remote. I even was able to take some equipment home, so I practically have the same set-up at home that I did before. My boyfriend is currently unemployed and our hopes of him finding employment in the middle of a pandemic are very low. We have savings, but, like many, we weren’t exactly financially stable before and we’re even less so now.
So that’s a stressor.
Listening to stories about people not taking this seriously is a stressor.
Hearing estimates that this could last for more than the few weeks my job and other local sources first predicted are a stressor.
Can you tell what type of mood I’ve been in for the past few weeks?
I’m also bummed, as I’m sure so many other people are. I have to miss celebrating my brother’s 18th birthday next week and his high school graduation in May has I can only assume been canceled, since his school has closed for the rest of the semester. I’ve had to cancel visits with friends and lunch dates. I’m terrified my trip to New Zealand, that I’ve saved and planned for over two years, will be cancelled this July and I won’t get to go to WorldCon there.
Of course, these are all little things, especially with everything else going on. But they are still real things with emotions attached. And I believe it’s valid to express that disappointment and those fears, especially when you remind yourself where they fall in the grand scope of things.
It’s also really weird how much I miss of my regular, normal life. I was just starting to get a routine settled. My job was about to start it’s peak and I was excited to experience that for the first time. Spring weather had finally showed up and I was overjoyed for all of the outdoor walks, adventures and date nights approaching.
And sometimes, it’s hard not to think of the, “I should be…” or the “If this didn’t happen, I’d be…” in this scenario. How I should be coming home from work mentally exhausted from helping so many students, but instead, I’m nervous to go outside, because even though I feel fine, I have no idea if I’m carrying this virus and, if I saw someone else, if I could get them or someone they love fatally sick. How I should be counting down the days until a trip of a lifetime, but instead, am nervous to think about it at all, because I’m just afraid it’ll be robbed away. How I should be making jokes about how fast my weekends always fill up, instead of going through and canceling plans.
But that type of thinking doesn’t help anyone, but especially not me, with my anxiety and depression flaring up and spiking a little more than usually, of late.
This first week, I’ve just been…absorbing it all; giving myself permission to be shocked, upset, scared, unbalanced. I am a productive person by nature, so I’ve experienced a lot of guilt this week, too; guilt I’m not doing more, that I haven’t stayed with my routine, that I’m not still accomplishing everything I set out to do,
But, if there was any time in your life to cut yourself some slack?
This is it.
I’m still not sure what my new normal is going to look like, while isolating. I still have work, of course, with my day job, and editing for clients coming up on the horizon. I still have books to write, novels to read and this blog I want to keep up with. But I think I’m going to let myself be a little more flexible. I’m going to let myself sleep in before work instead of getting up extra early like I had been before. I’m going to play video games a little bit more, because I just honestly fucking enjoying them. I might read for fun while waiting between emails and, while I do hope to finally start working out with all this extra time gained by commuting and canceled plans, I also want to continue to eat the foods I enjoy and not beat myself up if I decide to binge watch The Witcher finally instead of doing that evening workout.
Basically, this is a really long post to say that, I’m not really sure what I’m doing, even though I told myself today I was going to sit down and figure it all out, make an entire new routine, try and get back to normal.
Except there is no normal, anymore.
Not after this.
Yet, despite that truly terrifying realization (mostly due to uncertainty of what the new normal is*), there are positives. I get to see my boyfriend every day (the same man, who, for the first three years of us dating, I got to see only on weekends and we only shared one full day off together). I get to be with my pets all the time. I’ll have more time to walk Dovah as the weather gets better. I get to wear yoga pants and t-shirts to work. I’m hoping to have more time for writing. I’m reaching out to friends more and checking in on them more than I normally would. Our house is really bloody clean, we’re getting some organizational projects done and we made a list of movies we hope to watch.
I think I might focus on that, first: focused on the positives and lessen my social media time, so I can hopefully lessen the number of times my panic spikes; focus on the hope that we will survive this and it will get better, even if we have to accept the fact that there is no normal after this. Life has changed.
We can hope—and work and strive for–it to be better than it was.
*And let me just say, I am not terrifying of the world changing. There are many ways we as a society NEED to change and it’s been a long time coming. I’m more scared that it will only get worse for our marginalized, immigrant, non-Christian, POC, LGBTQIA+ communities, as well as the environment.