“Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” – Maya Angelou.
In these times of quarantine, it sure has been hard for me to keep that internal light shining! Being someone who travels a lot, and writes about traveling, a “stay at home order” seems to me like a challenge from the depths of hell. My “size-it-down” concept of selling our home and moving to a tiny apartment has worked so well for us over the last six years, but with the city shut down and my daily routine consisting of myself spending the whole day in the same one room, I have started to go a wee bit Covid crazy. I’ve seen some social media posts that say, “Introverts, check up on your extrovert friends…we are not okay!” I’m realizing that I require friends and community, crowds, and festivity. Peaceful aloneless doesn’t feed my soul. Of course, I am incredibly grateful not to be sick or to know anyone that has had a hard time with the disease. I have tremendous awe for the healthcare workers and people whose jobs are vital to our survival right now, like my son who works at Whole Foods. My heart aches for those that are currently unemployed or unable to pay their bills. And yet, being isolated, I can feel my inner spark starting to fizzle a bit.
Since Scott works from home, his weekday routine hasn’t changed that much. He’s still making calls and working. He manages to surf, bike, and exercise outside. As for me, nearly everything that I was doing prior to Covid has ended or been put on pause. My book clubs, crafting groups, and weekly workouts have gone virtual. I sure do miss my volunteering and group activities with friends. (I miss friendship hugs!) I miss concerts and the arts; and no matter what anyone says, seeing a musician online performing isn’t close to the same thing. On the weekends, desperate to get into nature, we’ve been driving to the mountains or beaches and having a picnic in our car. It’s an hour of bliss away from the city noise.
I’ve found that making a daily schedule has helped. My program includes “dance time with Scott,” “game time with Scott,” “meditation with Scott,” “neighborhood walk with Scott while carrying a music speaker,” and THANK GOD, “virtual cocktails with friends.”
A month ago, when I was particularly low and lonely, Scott and I decided to merge our two-person quarantine with my daughter and her boyfriend. They had been in a 5 person quarantine with his 2 other roommates. That’s done wonders for my spirit. I desperately needed a little “female” vibe and someone else I could snuggle! She’s brought a lot to the table…new TV show suggestions, hilarious belly laughs, and a pretty cool choreographed country line dance. Now we see them for weekly dinners or walks.
Six years ago we thought we were really clever getting an apartment across the street from a park. That works well until the city closes the park. At our wit’s end, we disobeyed our Governor’s order last week and drove to Arizona for a few days with nature in a rental house with a backyard. I could finally feel my mental health returning. I got to walk around the desert and hear the sounds outdoors. We rode bikes, played games, and cooked. I think the Governor wanted to punish us a bit, or maybe it was karma, but one night when I was getting into bed, I got bitten on my hand by a scorpion! Yes, it hurt. No, I didn’t have to go to the ER, I just called poison control. My hand was numb for a day and then was swollen for about a week. I’m choosing to look back on it as a chance for my robust immune system to get some practice fighting a poison.
I’m not sure how long this quarantine thing is going to continue, as I sit back here in my apartment/room. I don’t have any cool Italians singing opera or playing instruments on their balconies next to me. I don’t have much of my blue hair left! (About to try this myself soon….stay tuned!) I can see the fenced-in park and the desolate beach. Many homeless folks are wandering on the city streets where I live, and when I take a walk sometimes they scare me. (Scott and I got approached two days ago when a man tried to run us over on his bike. He was later seen carrying an axe.) So, in summary, I’m rethinking my life right now. I miss people. I miss having a house and a yard. I miss living in a suburban quieter calmer setting. I’m just trying to keep my light burning bright….