It’s the little things.
I read somewhere that it takes about two months on average for a new habit to take hold. I have now had 45 days of this strange quarantine/isolation situation, so I have a feeling that new habits have already taken hold. Some of them are not all that bad. The ability to work yet still focus on personal things has actually helped my life/work balance. I don’t feel the need to stay glued to the chair staring at my computer screen. I have learned how to work yet also take care of cooking, cleaning, exercise and other personal projects.
I hope that habit – the better balance – will continue long past the point where we go back to working in our physical offices.
Cooking at home has also become more of a habit. Those who know me know that I have a side gig as a restaurant reviewer for Your Chicago Guide (formerly known as The Local Tourist – Chicago). That has created a reality for me over the years where I eat out and go out to bars with great frequency. Seven weeks ago, that took an abrupt halt. Add that to the strange issues with supply chain and the bizarre grocery store situation and you get a formula that requires new ways of thinking about food.
Because I don’t want to shop more than necessary, I have become far more aware of cooking and then freezing portions for later use. I have also stocked up the freezer with things that can supplement if/when fresh produce isn’t as available as I would like. I am also becoming more inventive with meal planning and meal preparation. My portion control is better and I have finally made peace with the fact that my body does not require me to eat three solid meals every day as specified times. I listen carefully to my body and eat when I am hungry – stop when I am done – and then save the rest for later.
Another upside is that my food waste has become negligible. Again, I hope this continues when we are done with this level of quarantine.
Today I had some nice experiences, but strange ones. For the first time since mid-March we got a communication from my workplace that we could come back to our offices for a short visit today to get things that we may have forgotten before and to (finally) go through the mail that had piled up for seven weeks. It was astonishing to me how excited I was to get in the car and drive to work. I have never been thrilled to make that commute, but today I was excited.
Luckily, the weather was gorgeous – sunny and cool but not too cold. The drive was lovely and the grounds around my building have been kept up immaculately by the maintenance staff. I ran into several co-workers and we had a nice time chatting from appropriate social distance while wearing masks. Seeing people in person and talking to them was a huge positive deal for me. I did not realize just how much I have missed physical social interaction.
Later in the day, I drove into Chicago to pick up something. Before all of this happened, I saved up my money and for the first time in my life I went to a tailor and had them design and create a custom-made suit for me. I had all the measurements done in February and the suit was to have been done in early April. It finally did get constructed and my second fitting was supposed to be tomorrow. Instead, I drove into the city and did a curbside pickup of the new suit. I will put it on tomorrow and do a virtual fitting. If things need to be adjusted, I will pack it back up and take it back to them next week for the work.
But it was so exciting to see this gorgeous new suit made just for me – a totally one of a kind item.
Of course, the downside now is that I have no place to wear it. I suppose I could dress up for one of the seven bazillion Zoom calls I seem to be asked to do every week now, but it’s not the same as getting spruced up and hitting the town for cocktails, dinner and a show. I have to just be happy that I now have this spectacular garment and will eventually be able to wear it somewhere in public again.
Overall, nothing momentous happened today but it was all the little things that added up to help me have a better day. I guess that’s my takeaway from this day – the appreciation of all the small things that really do make up the majority of my days every day. Bad things happen and I have bad days, but when I truly look at time and add up the pros and cons – it’s the pros that are overwhelming on nearly every day.
I am grateful for this awareness – the understanding that my happiness is not necessarily predicated on huge momentous things happening. It’s all about small, micro-moments of joy and happiness.
It truly is the little things that matter the most.
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.