I see a lot of stuff out there about the good things we have learned and done during self-isolation (not so much from the imposed quarantine people – they are too freaked out by the ET scenario). I feel the same – my home is a little tidier, my dog has been brushed, I unearthed my sewing machine from a giant pile of things that have no place. As an introvert I made a point of being in contact regularly with the people who are most important to me, and discovered who those people really are.
As someone in an essential service who works from home anyway, I’ve been busier than usual, a source of resentment and I wish I could do something around my home on a grander scale, like paint the living room, but my days are long and full of work. Still, just not going out more than once a week for food has resulted in time to do the things there normally isn’t time to do. And my credit card bill – as noted before – has been blissfully manageable.
I wonder why, before, did we do all those things – whatever they were – and spend money on those things – whatever they were? Clearly we can live without them. Are we missing much? Someone said sports, not my thing. I missed a Jesse Cooke concert, that was disappointing. Didn’t visit my brother and sister-in-law out west the way I might have. Did my hair myself, with my adult kid’s help. There is an oppressive mountain of things to give to the thrift store that would usually be gone by now. I went for a walk with a friend and we drank a bottle of wine on her front steps instead of going out for dinner. I do missed prepared food with table service.
It’s hard to conceive that those things take up so much time that our very-mortgaged homes were a last priority. It is impossible to say “Sorry I can’t join you. I’m cleaning out an old dresser in my basement that night.” Because being out there and with people is also important. Yet it seems a cliché that our “busy” lifestyles have kept us from tending to our lives, our inner lives. We are so busy driving our children to activities that we don’t have time to prepare food for them and have to buy convenience snacks so they can eat quickly so that we can sit with them as good parents for 17 minutes and help them with their homework while chatting by text with a friend about meeting at the gym because there is no time to get together otherwise…
It’s a cliché, I’ve gone on too long.
So we have these take aways – that we can live in our homes and entertain ourselves and exercise and cook and bake and clean up after, even fix the grout on the backsplash because it’s just a 10 minute chore. And now we have to decide for ourselves: do we risk illness and possibly death so that we can go back to the lives we had two months ago? For what? Sports events? not me. Jesse Cooke – tough but probably not; too soon. Dinner with a friend – probably, though maybe delivered to one of our homes and outdoors weather permitting.
Many are very anxious about gatherings, school, medical appointments. Is it rude to wear a mask to your nephew’s wedding? And gloves? maybe just don’t go.
The real take away, I think, will be the new balancing or priorities. Not soccer or ballet, but soccer, ballet or illness.
On the other hand, I have a hair appointment for May 21 and I can hardly wait.