Day 59 of quarantine. Self-isolation? Social distancing? I don’t know what we’re calling it these days.
I have a post-it note on my fridge that I’m using to keep track of the days. Every morning, I add a hashmark. I plan to frame it when this is over so when my great grandchildren complain about being bored, I can point to it and make them feel bad about complaining. Petty? Maybe. But that’s where I am with quarantine.
I’ve learned a lot about myself in quarantine. I’ve always known I’m more of an extrovert, but it has really been highlighted over these weeks of social distancing. I like people. A lot. I like talking to them and spending time with them and hugging them. I like fist bumps and high fives in the gym. I like sitting down in restaurants and coffee shops and having long conversations or simply people watching.
At some point, I started to miss even my preschoolers at gymnastics. Wrangling seven or eight 3 and 4 year olds in a busy gym tests my patience. And yet I miss their excitement to tell “Miss Sarah” a story that takes what feels like ten minutes to get through and often doesn’t make sense. I miss sweet Emily who doesn’t always listen the best but is so cute that it’s hard to take away a post-class stamp. I miss sassy Sam with her high ponytails and fearless attitude. I miss Savannah who is the strongest four year old I’ve ever met. I miss my small friend Henry who taps me on the arm and just smiles at me. His mom says he has a “crush” on Miss Sarah.
And I miss my teenagers in tumbling class who make me roll my eyes with some of their antics, but they talk to me like I’m their friend and I’d like to think I have some sort of impact on them. I especially miss my Wednesday night Rising Stars class with my favorite girls. Anna who doesn’t miss a chance to hug me or tell me I’m her favorite teacher. Heity who always want to stay after to practice more. And my Gym Stars class on Saturdays. I really really miss my special needs athletes. They fill my heart week in and week out.
I’ve tried to use quarantine to the best of my ability. I’ve worked on projects, grown my coaching business, wrote a lot, read a lot. I’ve had to modify my workouts and training has taken a backseat thanks to both quarantine and a wrist issue that needs an MRI but given the current circumstances, I can’t get . Confession? I’m enjoying the change, even if I miss tossing a lot of weight overhead. It derailed my goal of qualifying for a national meet, but I mourned that and let it go – there’s nothing I can do to change it and this wrist injury would have come about either way. It just would have been properly treated sooner.
Working from home is a mixed bag. I’m incredibly efficient at home and can get a lot of work done in a short time. But I’ve been surprised to find how much I miss the office, particularly my co-workers. I like the commute from my bedroom to my living room. I like that I can cook in real time and have the television on in the background. I love that I can be home with my dog all day. It’s like I’ve falsely met my “Stay at Home Dog Mom” dreams. There’s definitely a lot of good things about working from home.
Except I find Zoom calls exhausting. Being on video calls for a good portion of the day is draining. I miss the ability to be able to stop at someone’s desk and ask a quick question. I didn’t realize how often I did that until I couldn’t. There have been hurdles with process, struggles to adjust to our new working environment. We’re still figuring out two months in. We’ll get really good at it just in time to go back to the office. But really, I’m just thankful to have a job during this time period.
Leaving my apartment is interesting. It’s bizarre to see people walking around in face masks and going down aisles only one way. I miss wandering grocery stores at my leisure. I go to Target at least once a week – the one close to me tends to be well-stocked with grocery essentials – and it’s such a thrill to walk through the aisles. But there are signs up that forbid customers from picking up merchandise or trying on clothes and sometimes that overwhelms me. I want to buy new clothes and accessories, but I can’t even touch them unless I’m sure I’m going to buy them. I had a small meltdown about that the other day. I just want to leisurely shop and buy things I don’t need. A champagne problem, but one that in the moment, felt really big. I miss normal.
Two weekends ago, I experimented with contouring. I’m trying to learn new skills in quarantine because I’m an Enneagram 3 and that’s what we do. I was moderately successful, but also realized I hadn’t put makeup on in nearly two months (my skin looks amazing) and pretty much all of my makeup has dried up. I’ll be replacing all of it whenever there’s a date in which I’m allowed to go back to work. But truth? I’m kind of liking just putting on a bit of concealer under my eyes, a swipe of mascara, and some days, a bit of lipstick.
This past weekend, I broke out my Instapot. I’ve had it a year and have used it maybe three times. It intimidates me. I managed to make chicken pad Thai that wasn’t awful. I also baked some tofu (first time) and made my own banana peanut butter ice cream. I got tired of eating the same things and I’ve certainly got the time to experiment.
My sleep has been the real MVP of quarantine. Even though I have a minimal commute when physically working in the office, I’m still awake around 6AM so I can have some quiet time to journal, pray, and write before I go into the rest of my day. But with the office commute of approximately fifteen steps these days, I’m able to sleep another hour or so and still have that quiet time. If only I could get myself into bed a hair earlier… I could perhaps put down my book earlier, but that never seems to be the best option in the moment.
I haven’t baked banana bread (yet), but I have baked several batches of cookies, only to realize there’s nowhere for me to take them to share them. So I’ve given them to maintenance workers and to friends I’ve social distanced coffee with. I did get on the @GoCleanCo bandwagon and strip my clothing. Go to her Instagram account, watch the stripping highlight, and then find out how dirty your own clothes actually are.
There’s been a lot of writing. A lot of planning. I’m working on an SEO course that I’ll launch sometime soonish. I’ve reduced my coffee intake, realized I don’t drink as much water when I’m home, even though it’s the only thing I have to drink in the house so now I’m actively working on that. I go for walks a few times a day to get my steps in and get a break from my computer screen. I’ve organized every drawer and shelf, have a big donation pile for whenever I’m allowed to drop things off again. My apartment has never been this clean.
I’ve watched a lot of television, too. I’ll write another review of everything I’ve watched recently soon. I went down the Disney+ rabbit hole and watched a lot of former favorites. I’ve also watched a lot of old sitcoms (Full House, Step By Step) and trash TV (Dance Moms, Toddlers & Tiaras). I haven’t hated it.
But I’m ready to resume some sense of normalcy. I think we all are. I also think we don’t know what normalcy will look like or when it will happen. It blows my mind that my Vols might play in an empty stadium come September. I can’t imagine resuming a social life with a mask in place. I think about being able to date again and having to wear a mask. About going to a concert again and wearing a mask. On and on it goes. It gives me anxiety if I think about it too much.
Quarantining alone has shown me how important community and connection is to me. I’ve learned a lot about my inner workings and what makes me tick. I hope I come out of quarantine with a great appreciation of the things I’ve missed. I selfishly hope my hair stylist gives me a priority appointment as we’ve had to reschedule twice already.
Day 59 of quarantine/social distancing/self-isolating. I have no idea how many days we have to go. None of us do.
We’ll get through it. We’ll find a new normal. And someday, we’ll be able to take those masks off and enjoy a table in a restaurant again.
And maybe we’ll get to watch the Vols play in person, too.