Imagine waking up to the news that your home is the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. That’s the shock New Yorkers received this week upon finding out our dense metropolis is home to the most cases in the entire nation.
Given the state of things, I wanted to write a little life update. Well, that’s a lie actually. I don’t particularly want to. It would be easier to binge Netflix or stare at the wall! However, it feels important to document the state of things right now. And maybe my brain needs to process some of it, too.
Here in NYC, life has taken a drastic turn for the weird in the past few weeks.
As I type this, I’m on week two of quarantine. My dude and I have been holding down the fort in our Brooklyn apartment, donning masks and gloves to get the mail, wiping down doorknobs, light switches, and virtually all surfaces, and avoiding the outside world.
We’re undoubtedly very lucky that we have that option.
All necessities are delivered via delivery driver or mail. Front line and essential workers of all varieties are emerging as the true heroes of this crisis, and yet many of them aren’t being given the protection they need to stay safe.
The ceremony for bringing any object from the outside world inside is intense. It involves protective plastic bags, surgically removing and discarding packaging, Lysol-ing the crap out of every exposed surface and washing every piece of produce with a paranoid vigor.
Imagine delivering those items, door to door. How can we ever thank the people who are keeping society running right now? Apparently the best thing we can do at the moment is to stay home.
Our days are filled with long discussions about the pandemic and how it’s progressing. Over meals, we wonder aloud what’s going to happen. We scroll through news stories, some filled with facts, others with sheer panic.
Between all of that wondering, we still manage to keep busy.
The time passes between cooking meals, working on projects and client work, sleeping weird hours, and checking sobering statistics on occasion, but not often. As an over-imaginative person with panic disorder, I require some degree of tranquility to function on a daily basis and avoid panic attacks.
And if ever there was a time for panic attacks in my life, this would be it!
As I type this, a flight reminder just popped up on my phone. I’d be heading to the airport in Paris right now, wrapping up a writing retreat. One I’d been looking forward to for months.
Under normal circumstances I’d also be preparing to get back to work at The Wing—a co-working space and collective dedicated to the empowerment of women—which I joined on Mach 1st, excited to branch out and work amidst fellow female creatives.
They’re launching a bunch of online initiatives, but I’m pissed. I even invested in a new mobile office set up, complete with a cute pink bag to tote it in. I was ready to take March by storm.
And then, March kind of… well, you know the rest.
I’m trying to be optimistic, as is my nature, and to extra positivity from this scenario. My woes are superficial and privileged at best in comparison to the true nightmare unfolding right outside my door.
I don’t work on the front lines. I’m a remote writer, as you guys know. I write marketing language for brands and I usually work from home or from the coffee shop. I didn’t feel the sting of losing a job or get whiplash along the learning curve of working online like so many have over the past few weeks.
My agency prospects dropped off and one of my major clients had to pause operations, but I am still bringing in enough income to stay secure (remind me to write a blog post about multiple income streams at some point).
We’re allowed one form of outdoor exercise, but I’m currently too paranoid to go outside. I don’t see that getting better. Also, it’s raining most days as we transition out of winter. I bought an exercise bike to keep my body moving. Not surprisingly, once the initial excitement of owning this thing wore off, it has been a real challenge to motivate myself to use it.
I’m not judging myself for that, but it’s frustrating. Bleakness is heavy and thick. It permeates every activity throughout my day.
I have no shortage of cute and uplifting things to do. I’ve designed my entire life around such activities, after all. I have a miniature model house waiting to be assembled. I have pre-pandemic vlogs to edit and a blog to work on, which sparks all kinds of joy in the midst of this chaos.
But sometimes I just sit down in front of my desk and can’t bring myself to do anything.
I ordered the parts to re-do our front stoop and make it suitable for lounging once the weather gets warmer. I’m sure the warmer weather will perk us all up. And our front stoop is gated, so it would be safe, in theory….
But there’s the lingering “what if”s that cloud my mind throughout the day.
These are strange times.
Most of the world has been impacted by the pandemic by now, so my little account of our daily life probably isn’t news to you. But it is surreal to me, none the less, amplified by the fact that news headlines are now focused on my city and the sheer carnage being carried out by this mysterious virus.
What can I say, really, except that I’m scared for this city’s population and for all of us, around the world? And that I have no idea what’s going to happen next?
Taking time to write these thoughts out is bringing me a bit of peace, if I’m honest. Writing down my feelings helps me recognize that I’m a physical being experiencing life with the rest of the world. That’s something that slips my mind a lot.
Apart from truly loving the process of creating mini-presentations about my life, I usually document things in order to process and accept them—and, ideally, feel some relief.
Vlogging is a big part of that, actually.
Speaking of vlogging, I’ve been vlogging quarantine life as part of my mission to vlog each month of 2020, so I’ll be editing and posting those soon. I’m not rushing it, though. I’m trying not to rush anything in particular while we adjust to this bizarre new normal.
I’m not entirely sure how to wrap this one up, friends!
Re-reading this post, I’ve certainly rambled. I don’t have a lesson or any inspiring insight for you at the moment. I just hope that, wherever you are, you’re staying safe and making time to take care of yourself.
I know that humans are amazing and we’ll overcome this somehow. Unfortunately many of us will lose friends and loved ones, maybe even our own lives.
What can one say in such a situation? I used to think my soul was old and wise, but faced with this wild scenario, my soul shrinks like a child.
Let’s soak in whatever beauty we can find in this situation and treasure every small uplifting thing we come across. Connect with the people we love, allow ourselves to laugh, and not judge ourselves for “falling short” of whatever expectations we’re subconsciously applying.
All that matters right now is staying safe and supporting the people who need us.
I wish you all the health and emotional balance in the world as we await what’s next.
With love and Clorox wipes…