There are so many things to hate about this moment in time. Constant fear and anxiety, not being able to see my friends and family without a device between us, and struggling to breathe behind a face mask are at the top of my list. Perhaps I will publicly add to that list at some point, but today I want to focus on the upsides of my state’s rigorous stay-at-home orders:
While working from home, I don’t have to wake up hours in advance to shower, dress, and do my hair/makeup. When I log into work at 9:30, I’m still in my pajamas. I still rise early to write because it is my most productive time of the day, but it’s not as early.
Because of the above change in my schedule, I’m able to stay up later to finish tv shows or read without losing out on precious sleep hours. If I suffer from insomnia, happening more frequently, there is less pressure to wake up when my alarm goes off.
I used to wake up before work to exercise (go for a run, use the Peloton bike at my apartment building’s gym) because midday workouts were not possible and I liked to keep my evenings open to write or go out with friends/dates. I no longer must exercise first thing in the morning to get it done. Instead, after going through my work emails and handling anything urgent in the morning, I usually take a break between 10:30-11am and do a fitness video on Youtube or pop outside for a quick run (with lots of social distancing). If that time doesn’t work out (see what I did there?), I have all day/night to fit in exercise. I literally have ALL day.
(Something I’ve observed is my preference to keep a schedule, even now. I’ve just modified the schedule to reflect the changes in the world. Despite having nothing to do, I get anxious when my routine is interrupted I think it’s a control thing…(You think, Meredith?) Anyway, I’m trying to embrace the freedom and squash the anxiety or at least keep it in perspective.)
Before Covid-19, my virtual communication with just about everyone besides my parents was limited to text, email, or FB message. Now I have a weekly Zoom with my closest author friends who live all over the country and Canada, am doing Facetimes with a few other besties regularly, and even had a virtual reunion with my college roommates. I wasn’t in physical contact with most of these people weekly or even monthly before, and now we’re all making a conscious effort to check up on each other face-to-face. We even taught my aging technophobe parents how to Zoom—not without its complications—and my mother got to celebrate her 79th birthday with all her children and grandchildren on one screen. It was wonderful.
Before Covid-19, I had to fit my writing time in between my day job, my social life, the gym, and general “errands.” With the flexibility of working from home, nowhere to go in the evenings, my gym and rowing studio closed, and most of my essentials being delivered, I completed the first draft of my novel and several rounds of self-editing way faster than I anticipated. It is now with my critique partner and I hope to send it to my agent at the beginning of June. While I miss going out for drinks and dinner and would like to get back to my office, those are things I can’t control. Using the extra time to write is something I can control. I don’t want to take this extra time for granted because (God willing) it won’t last forever.
I love how social isolation has forced so many to step out of their comfort zones. I’ve been amazed by the original and innovating ideas my writer peers have come up with from live reading first chapters of books, to Instagram book launches, to Zoom book clubs. Beyond the author world, I’m so proud of my technophobe parents for learning how to Zoom and FaceTime. I’m an anti-crafty person, yet when forced with no other options, I took to YouTube for lessons on creating face masks from T-shirts. (Eventually I acquired two much better masks, but the ones I made myself worked in a pinch.) It might seem like a small thing, but I was pretty proud of myself and proved that I am capable of doing what needs to be done!
For now, my list will end here. Maybe I will add to it as I think of others. Being grateful for what I have is far more enjoyable than crying over what I don’t. What about you? Is there anything about social distancing that you enjoy? Did you learn anything about yourself? Let me know in the comments.
See you Monday. Have a safe and healthy weekend everyone!