Monday, March 30, 2020

The Coronavirus Chronicles: Part Two

It’s been two weeks of working from home, social distancing, and wondering, “When will this end?” The good news is, we’ve survived. The bad news is, we still really don’t know how much longer this is going to last.

I have felt suffocated by that feeling of the unknown many times since this quarantine began. I am a planner, people (we’re talking color-coded with stickers), so not having a definitive date when life can return to normal is too much for me to handle (especially in isolation). When can I watch sports again? Travel? Most importantly, when can my family be in the same room together again?
It goes against my nature to dwell on any negativity, so each time that feeling of suffocation has come on, I have tried to focus on the things that ARE in my control. The laundry, my next meal, work, PhD classes, a walk around the neighborhood...these are the things I can control and in focusing on them, I’ve realized a few things this week.

First, walking around my neighborhood is giving me life right now. Yes, I’ve enjoyed some binge-watching time in the recliner, but I’ve also made sure to work out each day (thank goodness for this gorgeous Spring weather we’ve had). Sunshine, trees in bloom, and good music coming through my headphones is keeping my positivity alive.

Second, I have learned that my crisis foods are pizza and chocolate. It’s a good thing I have exercised each day because my diet has gone off the rails (as my friend Katie recently said, “Calories are units of joy”). At first, I felt guilty about all the carbs of comfort I have been taking in. But you know what? We are in the middle of a pandemic, and this is not the time to deprive ourselves of delicious foods (sorry I’m not sorry, Weight Watchers).

Third, I have realized that I actually enjoy working from home (hello, quick commute!) and that my house is super adaptable. No makeup, ponytail + baseball hat, and yoga pants—I’m living my best life when it comes to my remote work wardrobe. With my desk being used for storage, my dining room table has become my desk, my recliner has become my dining room table, and my living room is my dance studio. Cleaning, organizing, and decorating has commenced, and I suspect this condo is going to be in tip-top shape by the time this is all said and done.

Fourth, and most significant, I have realized just how much I have been taking for granted over the years, and I’m feeling especially grateful for the “little things”. My health, my family, conversations with friends, my job, sports, toilet paper...I never imagined not being able to spend time with my family anytime I wanted. Not being able to hug my niece and nephew is the hardest part of all of this. I’m grateful for the technology that has allowed us to stay in contact and “see one another” even if we can’t be in the same room right now. Shout out to my Aunt Terry, who read my last blog and found some toilet paper for me (did I ever think I would be treasuring TP? No, but here we are).

I’m grateful to be able to keep my job during this difficult time, to be able to work from home, and to work with such supportive colleagues. I am in awe of how everyone at my university is handling this challenge, keeping our students’ needs at the forefront. Also, Microsoft Teams for the win!

I’m grateful for the texts, phone conversations, and walks with friends—the honesty keeps me grounded and the laughter keeps me going. I’m here for all of the virtual happy hours and the memes!

Last, but certainly not least, I’m grateful for my health. At this point, I know two people who each have a loved one that has tested positive for COVID-19, and as far as I’m concerned, that is two too many. I appreciate the actions our governor has taken to keep our community “healthy at home” and I pray that someone (far smarter than me) develops a vaccine soon. In the meantime, I cannot say thank you enough to our healthcare professionals, grocery store staff, and all of the essential employees helping us to navigate through this terrifying time.

The past two weeks have felt like a roller coaster; one minute, I’m feeling like I’ve got this, and the next, anxiety strikes. The not knowing is the worst, but there is still so much to be grateful for. I’m doing my part to stay at home—I’ve replaced watching sports with watching all of the Marvel movies in chronological order (I had only seen Black Panther so this is a whole new world for me; Disney+ pun intended)—and I’m supporting local restaurants on the weekends with carry-out orders. I’m going to keep walking, texting & talking with family & friends, eating fabulous foods, working hard at home, and hoping for health. Let’s not only survive, y’all, let’s thrive. And when all of this is over, I’m going to give each of you a huge hug.

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