53 Days Into Quarantine
Work, money, friendship, communication, food, relationships, time, self-reflection, and creativity have changed irrevocably for me. There have been pros and cons.
Loneliness and existential dread.
Difficulty taking in the tiniest slice of mainstream news media without feeling overwhelmed.
More flustered disagreement with my partner, because we share the same space 24/7, and are revealing the tiniest differences in goal and opinion regularly.
Losing track of time, sometimes in likable ways, also in ways that scare me.
Missing every kind of hangout: making dinner for friends, beach days, in-person classes, dates at restaurants, movie theaters, outdoor markets, even just being around people without talking to them at coffee shops and parks. Observing and interacting in the smallest ways. Shows and shopping. Even airports. I miss having strangers to sit/stand next to and just strike up a conversation with. I miss being part of an audience. I miss music jams and training sessions. These, of course, are small prices to pay for the safety and health of the most vulnerable, but I miss them nonetheless.
Unemployment and occasional loss of purpose, even with daily blogs and at-home gigs.
Falling behind on tidying habits: more time at home means more messes to clean.
Outings that used to be fun are now difficult and draining: before lockdown, grocery shopping was high on my list of favorite activities. Now, we feel the fear and scarcity as soon as we enter the parking lot, we second guess everywhere we breathe and everything we touch, and we have to forgo the inevitably-sold-out things on our list.
Constant news of diagnoses and loss from friends, family, and communities across the globe.
Difficulty climbing out of better sleep and exercise habits: unless we randomly have somewhere to be (which has happened maybe twice in the past 6 weeks), we sleep the f**k in, and work outs are few and far between--the real workout is inside my existential brain. :P
Deeper cerebral connections with my loved ones and friends: Facetimes go on longer and plumb deeper subjects. Deeper fears and insecurities are dredged up by the pandemic, so Shane and I hold each other's hand as we face them. We nurture and encourage each other, and we listen a lot harder.
Time to commit to learning other interests: we've gotten pretty far in vegan cooking, seasonal gardening videos, music, and housing markets. We watched the entire 'Art of Negotiation' Master Class with Chris Voss today. I finally started picking up a musical instrument daily and the practice brings a specific joy I can't describe. Reminds me of my piano-playing days on the cruise ship back in '12. Of course, I've learned a lot as a writer as well, and watched a lot of films from an acting/industry lens. These endeavors are hard to quantify because they aren't traditional 'accomplishments', but they are rewarding in a different way...the journey itself is the fun part, no matter where it leads.
Deeper care for everyone around me: I'm asking everyone how they're doing, and if they need anything. I'm searching for ways to help the elderly and homeless communities in my area--stretched thin in such a perilous time. People in LA seem to be in high spirits and volunteers/donations are flooding in (at least according to Feeding America and Meals on Wheels). I'm suddenly so much more aware and eager to help. That being said, if you're reading this and you think I could help you in some way... please don't hesitate to send me a message or just comment on this blog.
I'm saving money: I'm one of the lucky ones who hasn't had to get on the phone to file for and maintain my unemployment status. I got my direct deposit stimulus check on the first day they started issuing them, and the US treasury has already sent two $600 checks on top of the UI weekly benefits I was already receiving. Without restaurants, classes, makeup, killing time at malls, or driving really at all...my expenses are way down. I am actually saving more money doing whatever I want at home than working full time, which is totally insane. Thank you, government assistance.
Supporting small businesses: we've been frequenting our once-overlooked corner grocer, a Russian-owned, produce-heavy market with outstanding pickles and a giant mushroom selection. They have been life saving! I have also steered clear of Amazon to try and support online businesses that could use the boost, and ideally provide sick leave and PPE for their employees. Small businesses have been truly inspiring to me in this pandemic--whether it's restaurants providing food for healthcare workers, costumers donating masks, or donation-based online classes, I'm amazed at the generosity of so many who find true purpose, not just money, in their work.
Ease of healthier eating: a spirit-science documentary on healthy eating got Shane and I inspired right at the beginning of quarantine, and we've fallen into a good rhythm of cooking for ourselves and knowing exactly what we're consuming. It has been flavorful and enlightening, and our energy levels have been great.
Deep contemplation on the meaning of life: it's not all existential dread.
What are your quarantine pros & cons? Do you think it's different depending on your location/who you're quarantining with? Would love to know your thoughts. Stay safe out there!