After a solid 135 days of posting every day about my quarantine experiences, I finally hit a wall. I realized that the “Groundhog Day” nature of this experience was making me repeat myself in my daily posts. I also began to feel a strange obligation to post – and that made me anxious.
I took a break and decided to begin posting every few days and/or when I had something particularly pertinent to share. Today, let’s call this “Sparkling Isolation – Days 136 through 143.”
The past week has been another “Coronacoaster” period for me. Up, down, up, down, sideways, backwards, upside down. Repeat. I have found some interesting things during this wild ride.
First, I have almost entirely stopped reading any kind of news or even news headlines. I suppose that makes me rather like an ostrich with my head buried in the sand, but I just cannot take the pervasive stress. In the midst of all of this, I had a potential cancer scare and had to have some tests. Luckily, I am fine – but the anticipation of “what if” was causing me tremendous stress and that was just about all the stress I could take.
Second, I love my friends and because of that I have had to stop reading posts from many of them. I realize that people need to lash out or make their positions known or whatever. I get it. At the same time, I cannot get dragged into the confrontational nature that seems to pervade every single conversation online lately. Social media is fantastic for connecting and totally sucks for everything else. Even my most optimistic and/or positively-focused friends seem to be spiraling down into the abyss lately, and I am familiar enough with my own abyss without needing to explore another one.
Third, my patience has become negligible. Actually, it’s gone. Poof! I have what feels like a millimeter of armor now and even small things are setting me off into spirals of anger, frustration, fear – all of the pandemic emotions with which we are all now familiar. I feel a bit like a hermit right now, but that’s just fine with me. I think it’s time to cocoon for a bit in order to rebuild my emotional armor.
Fourth, despite all of the above I am finding that I have started to become far more cognizant of my own mental/emotional/spiritual health. We will ignore physical health for the moment. I suck at that right now. Exercise schmexercise. Pass the wine! But for the rest – I have started to pay far more attention to pampering myself.
I had a massage for the first time since January. I took myself out to Everest, one of the priciest and best restaurants in Chicago. I have gotten dressed up a few times just because I can. I am finally sleeping better and not stressing about alarm clocks or schedules. I am in the final few weeks of my second level of wine certification training and I plan to move on to level three soon. Career change? Maybe! I continue to “Marie Kondo” my home and I’m ditching so much old junk that it’s insane.
Also, one of my best friends from college (in the 1980s) came to town and we hung out at one of my favorite restaurants – first time seeing each other in person since 1997! What fun.
Finally, the ups/downs of the past week have reminded me that life is short and precious. In the past week a co-worker passed away and the father of one of my employees also passed away. The ex-husband of a friend is close to death at the moment and another friend is going through a medical scare that makes me anxious.
Deep breaths. What this past week has taught me, among all the things above, is that I have to stop and notice every positive thing I can find in every possible moment. Delight exists around me – around all of us – all the time. Even in the times we categorize as “awful” or “the worst” or “hopeless” there is always hope and there is always beauty. This past week has reminded me of that.
Today I choose to stop, breathe, and notice everything I can that brings me joy.
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.