Just about everyone on the planet is adjusting to this new life of social separation, imposed upon us by a quite beautiful little organism called CoVid19. Who would have thought our grasp on normalcy would prove so fragile? Who would have imagined we would leapfrog from life-as-we-know-it to crisis/panic mode so quickly? Certainly not me. But every challenge is an opportunity to learn something, right? I thought I'd share with you five things I've learned about myself these past weeks, first published in my monthly newsletter.
Up until this week, I've thought of space travel as a great adventure. Not anymore. I'm developing claustrophobia in my relatively large house on acres of land. Taking a walk or even a long drive isn't a problem; yet I'm feeling trapped.
This is not something I'm proud to admit. I'd rather think of myself as a person who can forego such frivolous activities and pour myself into more intellectual pursuits like reading, writing, and locating the constellations in the clear night sky. I'd like to think I'm self-sufficient and creative like the women of the WW2 generation, who learned to make cakes without sugar and who picked out old sweaters to reknit them in a new style. The truth is, imagining these virtues is a lot more fun than living them, and I'm betting the greatest generation thought so, too.
In this I am demonstrably human. How else can you explain the run on toilet paper and bleach? My husband called me from Kroger the other day to tell me what they had on the shelves. I told him to buy the last bottle of toilet bowl cleaner. Why? I have plenty. At least I'm battling my darker impulses. Last week I did not purchase another tube of super glue--or the last box of Brillo pads.
Two weeks ago, in blissful ignorance, I loved looking out at the woods instead of another house. I preferred hearing the call of a fox rather than the sound of my neighbor mowing his grass. I enjoyed listening to the chatter of birds instead of traffic. Now I envy those Italians singing to each other from their apartment balconies. Living in proximity to others has joys I'm learning to appreciate. In this time of social distancing, I'm craving social interaction.
5. Having all the time in the world does not help me get things done.
This is probably the most surprising truth I've learned about myself, even though I've always been a world-class procrastinator. Should I be working on my current manuscript? Pulling weeds has a strange attraction for me. Is it time to organize that meeting? I'd rather be ironing. Two days ago I posted this on Facebook: All my travel and most of my appointments have been cancelled. WHY am I not getting more done?
Here are some of the responses I got:
...I was wondering the same about myself.
...I'm with you; seems like a good time to reduce clutter, etc, but nit happening.
...I have really good lists, and then get things done that aren't on them!
...I'm trying but not succeeding!
...Me, too. I'm a little too scattered, mentally, to actually DO anything. A lot too scattered.
...I'm with you, Connie. I have nothing to do except walk, nap, read, eat, and write. So I haven't even
...I can't decide what to do. turn the TV on or not. Read the news on my Ipad or not. Opt for passing
time on FB. It's all so confusing 'cause my routine events and groups are all cancelled. I'm glad
to hear someone else is having focus problems. I did start to clean my kitchen but may never
At this point I should be passing along words of wisdom, saying we'll get through this and come out better in the end. And we will. But lasting lessons will come in their own good time. Until then, my job is to come to terms with life as it is now--and get busy on my current WIP.
How are you coping? One of things we need right now is social interaction. So share your experiences. Let's talk.