Tomorrow marks 30 days in quarantine. After 30 days it seems we should be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. And we are. I would even say some nervousness has set in about going back to normal. Whatever that might be.
I think I’ve embraced my introvert side during this time and soon I’m going to have to get back out there and socialize. Our house has been clean enough for the last 30 days but I wouldn’t necessarily want guests to come over and see it looking so lived in. And there is a certain comfort in knowing you’re not going to see anyone unless you make an effort to skype. Speaking of which, did I brush my teeth today?
After nearly five weeks at home I’m finally getting the hang of planning dinners and cooking them every.single.night…No, but seriously it’s not as intimidating as it was before. Similarly I don’t feel daunted by the fact that I need to fill our days with activities or the challenge of mixing the things that need to be done with the things that are more fun to do.
During this quarantine I’ve made nearly everything into a challenge and as a result it’s been, dare I say, fun?
During the first week I asked myself these questions:
-What can we achieve in 35 days? (big or small-doesn’t matter)
-How will this time change us?
-What will the world look like on the other side of this?
Answering the first question has give me the opportunity to become empowered about my everyday life in a way I had not figured out how to do before. It’s been easy to make everything into a game. (i.e. Can I really be disciplined enough to meditate, do my ab work out and power walk every day? Can I give up sugar in my coffee? Can I learn to actually flip a pancake in the air? Can I write something ok enough to make it public every 24 hours?)
How did I get in this game mindset? Some background: In January after making some small adjustments I started to re-emerge after a very long time. In 2014 I decided to marry, move to Germany and become a mom. While these changes were wonderful, they dismantled my life entirely and made me a little bit unrecognizable to myself. To say transformation is not easy is a real understatement, and at times I was probably a little shocked and depressed.
Now finally I’ve found the energy and focus to start restructuring and reinventing. It seems weird that it’s coinciding with this quarantine but maybe it’s perfect.
Because the thing is: I don’t really have a normal yet, so I don’t need to be afraid of a new normal it in the aftermath of the quarantine. This whole thing has been a fast track realization that I have nothing to fear about the future. What I’ve become sure of is that we have created this precious family unit. We really need to protect it- everything else in our lives could go.
It sounds intense but actually it’s freeing.
So, now that we are nearing the end of the quarantine, what is life going to look like on the other side? And how much influence can we have over it?
If we take an inventory of what we’ve seen, experienced and understood– If we admit how we’ve changed, what we’ve learned to live without or what stresses we’ve been relieved of, we can make purposeful choices about what’s next. The ball is in our court. We will have to decide if we want to go back to driving as much, working as much, flying as much. On what do we want to spend the money we have left? Our decisions will be based on what we have done with this 35 days.
If we wait for the same authorities who didn’t know how to manage and didn’t know how to communicate the realities of this virus to tell us what normal should look like on the other side, we will have very little control and not feel very empowered.
We have seen that front-line health workers are heros, and that some teachers are wizards. We know that parenting is not for the weak and neither is being a grocery store clerk. The restaurants and small businesses that have innovated to stay in business, the local growers, the postal workers who keep delivering, the artists, whose creativity keeps us going, the comedians and writers whose humor make us smile, the musicians and dancers who keep giving us their art for free– these are the people who have helped us to survive. On the other side of this we need to make sure they are no longer marginalized and undervalued. We have seen what chaos could have ensued without them and what comfort and inspiration we would’ve missed.
You could say that these are devastating times but there is a bright side. We have a chance to recreate and re-envision not just our own lives but the world. Take inventory. Come out of this knowing what you want to keep and what you want to throw away.