Tuesday, April 21, 2020

What I Have Learned While Sheltering in Place During the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic, Part 2: A Day in the Life and Some Realizations

One of my Facebook friends recently posted a question on Facebook, asking people what their days were like now that we are all sheltering in place, wondering if they had a particular routine. So naturally, I wanted to weigh in, but in so doing, I have also had some major realizations.

So first, this is what for me is a typical day:

6am:  Hubby gets up.

I don't.

7am:  Zzzzzz

8am:  Zzzzzz

9am:  Zzzzz

9:15:  Yawn

Well, this is what I like to think I am like when I wake up, that I wake up all happy with little birds singing on my window sill, but...

actually it's more like this!

I am NOT a morning person!

9:30:  Get up and fix my special breakfast drink - orange juice with Pellegrino (makes me feel like I am having a Mimosa for breakfast) followed by a cup of tea (I am not a breakfast person, either), which I drink while reading magazines or whatever book I am working on.

10:30: I watch "The View." Watching "The View" has been part of my routine for so long that it feels like I am having a political discussion with my girlfriends (and yes, I sometimes talk back to the TV). It relaxes me. And I know, it is on at 10am but I have it set on my DVR, so that if I watch it after it has already started I can whiz through the commercials. I hate commercials! Having to watch a bunch of commercials just might push me over the edge!

11:30:  Make the bed, get dressed, that kind of thing - should I take a shower?

Nah...why bother?

Noon: Meditate while Hubby is walking the dogs.

(Like I could actually get into that position)!

12:30:  Exercise

(Like I could actually do that.  When I am not out walking, I work out with YouTube videos but I have learned that many of the workout videos on YouTube are kind of lame)

1pm: Work on this blog or some other important computer project I have planned liked watching videos of cute puppies on YouTube.

2pm:  Housework - washing clothes, ironing, cleaning out the garage.  I usually have a list of things I want to get accomplished.  Old habits die hard.
(have to do that stuff some time - my cleaners are also on lockdown)!

3pm:  Watch a movie, because, after all, I am still Rosy the Reviewer!

5pm:  Hubby gets off work so it's Happy Hour!
(and sometimes virtual Happy Hour with friends - and I have to say that as much as I miss seeing my friends in the flesh this virtual thing sure is easy - don't have to make food or clean the toilet)!

5pm:  Get dinner ready

6pm:  Dinner

7pm:  Jeopardy.  Since we can't meet up with our trivia team - The Famous Shagalots - Hubby and I get our trivia kicks hanging out with Alex Trebeck and competing against each other while watching Jeopardy.  (Btw, I say The FAMOUS Shagalots because we have won at every venue we have played. And if you are wondering, yes, the team name is ironic)!

8pm:  The rest of the evening is usually followed by lots and lots of TV (here is what I have been watching), a movie or some Me Time.

(Except I don't have a cat)!

11pm:  Bedtime...

unless I am on a roll.  I stay up late a couple of times a week, more because I am too lazy to get ready for bed than that I am doing anything important.  I have always been a bit of a night owl.

So that in general is how my life goes now in this time of sheltering in place, give or take some of the time frames and/or activities. 

But I have to admit, that's pretty much how my life went before, except now instead of leaving the house, my day or evening is broken up by online card games with friends, FaceTime with family members or friends, occasional trips to the store, cooking marathons and some mini projects. But like I said, in general, my days are not that different from before the pandemic. I am retired, so I didn't have a job to go to.  Also, I actually like to be alone, to a certain extent and have always carved out some time to engage in solitary pursuits. I have always been sort of an "indoor girl," so it hasn't been the sacrifice for me that it has been for others, though I certainly have days when I want to scream "GET ME OUTTA HERE!"

But I learned early on that I am a creature of habit and need structure in my life, not just during the occasional pandemic where I have to stay home every day.  Even in the best of times, I had a routine and it's having a routine that is helping me get through this time now. I learned the importance of that when I retired after 40 years as a librarian.

When I retired, I had to ask myself, what was going to give me a reason to get up in the morning? What would be my purpose in life? What was I going to do all day?  So now you know.  But actually, I discovered blogging, volunteer work, meditation, a Fantasy Movie League, all kinds of activities that I didn't have time for when I was working and those activities gave me purpose.  And now within the confines of sheltering in place, I have built a mini-structure for my life and...my purpose?  Right now, it's to help protect myself and my fellow humans by staying home.

But the main difference now is that, since I can't go out, my basic routine is not broken up by outside influences like it was before.  I am not busy, busy, busy.  I don't have my usual volunteer work, lunch with friends, going out to hear Hubby play music, traveling, hanging out at the mall, going to the gym and all of the other activities that filled up my day before.  Now I have time to think.

Many of us have been caught up in the busyness of life, busy taking care of kids, busy running errands, busy working, busy fulfilling obligations, and we were not able to find the time to stop and think about what we really wanted out of life and what really mattered.

But now I have all of the time in the world to reflect and that reflection has led me to some realizations about what really matters and how I want my life to go when this over.

First of all - gratitude. I talked about that in my last blog post, but it bears repeating.  I am grateful for those friends, old and new, near and far, who have made the effort to check in and stay in touch.  It feels especially good when I am having a bad day. And I am grateful that my children and their children are well and in touch.

But it's not lost on me that I have privilege.  

I have not lost my job and I don't have young children to take care of and worry about.  There but for fortune...However, I can certainly relate.  It is not lost on me that if this had happened to Hubby and me 30 years ago, when we were living paycheck to paycheck with two young children, we would be suffering, just as so many are right now. So I am grateful for my life.  And I feel compassion for those who are suffering.  I plan to continue to practice gratitude and put that compassion to work by doing what I can for those who don't have the privileges I have.

I have also given some thought to my consumerism.  

Let me use my clothes "collection" as a metaphor. Let's just say, I have a crap load of clothes. All my life, shopping for and buying clothes has been a sort of hobby for me, like collecting stamps would be for a person whose passion that is.  I think my clothes habit stems from my not having the cute outfits that the popular girls had in middle school but we won't go into that now. As I shelter at home, it is not lost on me that I seem to wear nothing but workout clothes and sweats, sometimes the same outfit two days in a row (horrors!).

So when I look at my three closets full of clothes, I realize that I will probably never wear all of my clothes in this lifetime. It's a sobering thought. I realize I don't need any more clothes.  And like I said, all of those clothes are a metaphor, because it's not just clothes I am talking about.  It's consumerism in general. I realize that I have everything I need and I don't need much more of anything else. Sorry, Amazon.

Also with all of the news about how the environment has been helped by everyone staying at home - I mean those living in Los Angeles are seeing clear skies almost every day - I also want to be more conscious of what I am throwing away and what I can do to help the environment. I have always been conscious about it, but I want to be more conscious.

Likewise, though I am already volunteering as a peer counselor for seniors, I want to find out what other volunteer activities I can do to help those who aren't as fortunate as I am, who might be in real trouble especially after this is all over. As someone who was in public service for over 40 years, I realize that being of service is important to me. Even though I'm not working at a regular job anymore, it's still my purpose.

So I am learning to assess what I really need, not just now when I am stuck at home, but in the future. I am also having some realizations about how I want my life to go when I get out of this and back into the world. 

Sometimes it takes a worldwide pandemic for us to realize what really matters.

What have you learned or realized while sheltering in place?

Thanks for Reading!

And I Hope to See you Soon... 

Here and on my Rosy the Reviewer Facebook Page!

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