Thursday, March 26, 2020

Five Things I've Learned About Myself This Week by Connie Berry

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.

1. If I were sent to the space station, I'd go berserk (literally).

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.

2. I REALLY enjoy shopping and eating out.

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.

3. Not being able to have something makes me want it more.

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.

4. Living on several acres of land can be lonely.

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
   started today.
...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.


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I'm more worried about my kids. We're fine. We walk the dogs, drive to a mailbox to mail the bills, make 15 minute trips to the grocery store once or twice a week. I'm getting revisions done for April 1st deadlines, and signed up for Nanowrimo starting April 1st, and Jaden Terrell's on-line retreat, which starts Saturday the 28th.

The kids check in via text and tonight, to sing happy birthday to their dad, have organized a group Facetime event. I baked an upside-down cake for his upside-down birthday in an upside-down world.

We put the HD opera productions on my laptop most evenings, though a week of Wagner is a stretch. Wagner needed a good editor.

We have social interaction with all the other dog walkers in the neighborhood. I do miss my gym sessions watching HGTV (research for my next book) and chatting with everybody. I take Cincinnati ballet barre classes on-line instead.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Forgot to add: the Cincinnati Zoo has a 3pm live Face Book session every day featuring a different animal, up close and personal. So much fun!

Annette said...

Connie regarding #1: Yes.
#2: Yes.
#3: Yes.
#4: Yes.
#5: OMG YES.

I'm beginning to wonder if I really am an introvert.

Shari Randall said...

Oh, Yes! This is just what I've been feeling! The worst has been the lack of anchors to time. Every morning, I have to ask my hubby what day it is. No church services - no idea when Sunday is. No classes. No meetings. He is working remotely and so has a tether to the real world, but as you know, we writers don't.
I see friends on daily walks and we shout from our porches. I left ice cream on a friend's porch and we may exchange books and puzzles that way, but now I'm long does corona last on paper?

KM Rockwood said...

One of my siblings has organized a weekly conference on Zoom, so I'm actually in closer touch with my family than I have been in years.

Several friends, who have been in a-letter-every-month-or-two, are now sending e-mails, to which I always respond, so we're hear from each other much more frequently (they had to learn to e-mail, but they did it. I do wonder how the people I know who don't own or use computers are getting along.)

It's been a while since I curtailed most of my activities to be present & care for my husband, so this isn't that much different. He is seldom willing to go places, and I don't like to leave him alone.

What I do miss is my three-times-a-week aquatic exercise class. My daughter was with him when I went. I miss the social interaction as well as the exercises. I can move in the water in ways I definitely can't out of it, and my muscles and joints are letting me know that the exercises I am doing are no substitute.

Warren Bull said...

Some of my groups are moving online. The lack of scheduling makes it hard to know what day of the week it is.

Marilyn Levinson said...

I'm not ashamed to say I LOVE shopping and eating out. Can't concentrate much these days. Most people can't. I'm glad I can get in a few pages of my YA. Almost done!!

Grace Topping said...

For now, I'm just the opposite. I love not having to anywhere or do anything outside our home. Probably because I did too much running around before. I have deadlines to get guest blogs finished, so I am at my desk from morning until night--when I'm not cooking or baking, which I am doing far too much.

Susan said...

I find that having no deadlines makes me less productive. Ok, one of you, pleeeze give me a deadline. This is not good. The aloneness is much like winter in the Midwest, so that doesn’t bother me so much. I do like eating out with friends so I miss that. The worst part is not having a deadline for the virus’s disappearance.