How are you? I mean, really, how are you?
In between all of the “I’m fine” and the “You know, as well as can be expected” responses, how are we all truly doing?
I’ll tell you how I am.
I’m lonely. I’m not alone, as I have my husband and very cool two-year-old to hang out with, but I am lonely. I crave seeing my girlfriends for an occasional wine or coffee date. I want a hug from my sister who lives an hour away. I’m even desperate for annoying coworkers, so I have something to talk to my husband about that is not “this thing I saw on the Internet.” I am so very, very lonely.
And my loneliness is what makes me scroll endlessly, looking for community on the Internet, staying up too late to read or watch or comment on just one last thing to make me feel connected. It’s what makes me prod my husband into saying he’s not bored or annoyed with me, even though we spend literally 24/7 together, and I am sometimes annoyed with him, despite the fact that he is the type of person that literally no one has ever called annoying (me, on the other hand…). It’s what makes me talk and talk, hoping for a response from someone, anyone, even though the only someones in my house are my husband and the aforementioned two-year-old, because I just can’t stand to hear myself think about this pandemic and the state of our very isolated world and how long this has been going on anymore. It’s what makes me want to write, but also not write, because maybe I don’t want to put pen to paper and let all of this come out, to admit these things to myself. Instead, I shall admit them to strangers on the Internet, dribbles here, drops there, but never the waterfall that probably needs to flow freely to just get. it. all. out.
I’m lonely. How are you?
These past 11 months have really shaken things up for everyone, huh? Obviously, this has been an incredibly tragic time in the nation’s and the world’s history, but it’s also just been…weird. On top of finding ourselves doing things we never thought we would have to do (homeschool/supervise distance learning, set up makeshift offices, keep face masks on us at all times), I feel like we’ve found ourselves doing things we never thought we would want to do. People across the US became bread bakers, interior designers, amateur mask makers…the list goes on. We found our worlds turned upside down and adjusted and coped as best we could. I know I, for one, did a lot of things I never expected to in a million years.
- I cut my own hair: Full disclosure, I had totally trimmed a split end here or there, but I left the big cuts to the pros. About a month ago, though, I got really desperate as my hair was unintentionally reaching mermaid territory, and not in a cute way. I was looking…is feral the right word here? I’m not sure. But it was taking forever to detangle and dry this mane, so something had to be done. So I found a random video on YouTube, and cut several inches off my hair, and even added layers. Is it a professional cut? No. But does it look pretty good when curled? Actually, yes.
- We got a TP subscription service: Like, toilet paper wasn’t something I really enjoyed shopping for, but it was an afterthought, something I picked up at the store when we were running low. But right before the pandemic started, I decided to get our household on a greener path, and looked into bamboo toilet paper. I signed up for Reel TP, along with Blueland hand soap, in probably late February, and boy, am I glad I did! Knowing TP and soap were going to be delivered to me, and I wouldn’t have to fight someone at Safeway for them was a real relief. Still, I didn’t expect I would ever get literally everything delivered to my door.
- I took up a bunch of creative projects (like, more than normal): I’ve always loved to write nonfiction, and always have a million other ideas floating around in my head, but this pandemic, I actually started a novel (then started another after I scrapped the first idea), wrote 100 poems, and even contemplated starting a TikTok (I legit have a video script written out, we’ll see if I work up the courage to do it in the next 5 years). Follow-through rate is not super high, but actually starting some of my more random ideas is new for me.
- I went on a podcast: I joined Jenn from the “How Did You End Up There?” podcast to talk about my career in PR and communications, which, funny enough, had just come to a screeching halt. (I laugh to keep from crying at what the pandemic has done to women’s careers over the past 12 months). So we talked about my job, less than a month after I quit, but we also had a great conversation about the sacrifices women have had to make – both with their families and with their careers – during this really strange time.
- I quit my job: Speaking of which…I’ve talked about this before, but I had been looking to make a change, to see what else was out there in the field of communications for a while. I did not, however, expect to completely quit my job with nothing lined up because of a global pandemic that left parents the world over scrambling for childcare (or attempting to work while watching kids and overseeing distance learning). It came down to feeling like a good mom or a good employee – and at the time, I felt like neither – so I picked being a good parent, who wasn’t constantly so stressed and anxious that she also started to layer on the worry that she was missing out on so much, not only because of work, but because her stress was messing with her actual long-term memory. Permanent SAHP life (or even part-time freelance like I’m doing now) is probably not for me, but I am really glad I made this decision.
What have you done this pandemic, whether you wanted to or not, that you never expected to in this lifetime?