I’ve been in self-quarantine with my family for 42 days so far. In the years and decades to come, just search “2020 pandemic” to get the history on what I’m living right now.
In my (current) reality, it’s not bad for my family. We have a business that we can still work, clients we can still serve, employees that we can still employ, food in our pantry, and a home to isolate in – and I’m still shopping Amazon more than I should. That is all I’ll say about that for the sake of this story… because this story is actually about something else entirely – but the framework of our lives is what made this introspection possible.
Forty-two days, as of today, and something pretty profound just hit me.
I don’t know how to slow down. From the moment my eyes flutter open in the morning until I finally zonk out at night (and wake up 32 times a night,) I feel the very deep need to GO – MOVE – GET THINGS DONE – DO NOT SIT STILL – BE PRODUCTIVE IN EVERY SENSE IN EVERY ASPECT OF MY LIFE.
I have all the time in the world, or so my brain and the new isolation-bound society tells me.
DO SOMETHING-ANYTHING-EVERYTHING, DAMMIT.
I run to my desk at (or nearly always, before) 9am and stare at my email just waiting. I’m hyper aware that I should be instantly responding to every little thing that passes my desk, well, because the person on the other end KNOWS I’m “just” sitting at home working.
I look and feel like a slob. Mismatched random tee shirts, leggings, workout clothes. No makeup. Barely a brush in my hair to pull it back (yet again) in a ponytail. I do brush my teeth (grin).
During the day I eat lunch at my desk as I jump between helping my nearly-teen home school, helping clients, meeting with my business partner (aka my husband), thinking ahead on what to make for meals for my family, wondering what laundry should be done, keeping the dogs occupied (and not barking at the evil squirrel while I’m on calls), making lists of things I can cook that everyone will like (hella hard when you are “pandemic shopping”) – OH, and trying to remember to shower once a week.
At 5pm on the dot, I jump to start dinner even though my clients reside in six additional time zones from me AND I SHOULD BE SITTING AT MY DESK WAITING BECAUSE I HAVE ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD! Truth be told, I tend to start dinner a bit earlier now, because I’m at home, after all, and have “all the time in the world.”
Guess what? All of this (wildly gestures around like a manic symphony conductor) is EVERYONE’S brain lately.
People will think I’m lazy.
Or not dedicated.
Or a burden.
Forty-two days of living like that – wait. No. I’ve been living like that weeks shy of 49 YEARS.
What I’m craving right now is simplicity. And space. And order. And peace.
I wanted all of that before we needed to self-isolate in our home, I just feel the pull of it much stronger now.
Maybe this is just some sort of change-of-life thing women go through?
I don’t have little children around – mine are college and middle school, and can make their own breakfast and do their own laundry. Maybe these feelings are more because I’m weeks from turning 49 and not so much because I now work from home instead of drive four miles down the road to work?
Maybe it is because I’ve done all this stuff for decades and I’m just finally frigging tired.
Is this what it feels like when a middle-aged woman that generally has her shit together throws her hands in the air and says ‘screw it?’
I feel like I’m finally given the TIME to slow down and I can’t. Or won’t.
Going forward – today and after this pandemic has either killed us all or quietly erased itself from the planet – I can’t continue the ways I was. Neither can you. So? What do we do about it? Collectively we all need to take a deep breath, not judge ourselves, and sure as hell not judge others.
I’ll go first. Cheers to my first day of slowing down, living in MY moment, and creating the life around me that feeds my soul.