Updated: May 22, 2020
“How are you doing?” is such a loaded question right now. I’ve noticed that when you ask people this, some fall apart, some laugh, and some get silent. Me? The answer is a resounding “great!” I hide behind my computer during work hours and do pretty much whatever I want the rest of the time. OK, fine – I also kind of do what I want during work time. Feel like day drinking? Do it. Feel like wearing the same pajama pants for a week and only changing your shirt in the morning for a video call? Why not. Really wanting to forgo a workout today and have some homemade loaded nachos instead? You had me at forgo a workout. All in all, this whole quarantine thing works pretty well for me – at least for now.
As a single mom, I’ve been conditioned for years to have every moment of every day scheduled, so not having a place to rush to after work has been nothing short of fabulous. No more school plays or choir recitals, no mandatory gym time, no dating, no finally having dinner with friends that are mad at me for being too busy to see them… it’s all gone – replaced with a little solitude, a new skincare routine, and video-bombing my kid’s friend time. While that is shockingly refreshing for me, I also know that soon I’ll start missing the option to tell my friends whether or not I’m too busy for them… and missing the face-to-face interactions and parties shortly after that. I guess all those formative years spent grounded, alone in my room with my thoughts, Walkman and NES prepared me well. Now that I have Netflix and a smartphone, I feel like a queen. All I need now is my plastic furniture and I’ll be set!
Even though my experience has been profoundly positive thus far, there have been certain unflattering truths I’ve had to face. Despite my attempt to avoid a mirror at all costs, I still manage to see my grays growing each day. My nails are weak and brittle from centuries of buffing them down for acrylic enhancements. I've discovered that I’m at an age now where bald patches can be found on my legs when I stop shaving. I know now that, given the time, I won’t actually do all those things I said I’d do one day. And when I do, I won’t spend more than a few minutes on each task, which leaves me feeling both accomplished and supremely disappointed in myself. I’ve watched my mother go stir-crazy and my teenage daughter throw major fits trying to navigate this new normal. I’ve worried about my little brother forced to work around potentially sick panic shoppers just to feed himself. And I’ve read too many horror stories of people losing loved ones and being deprived of their chance to say goodbye at the hospital.
For now, I’m taking the good and the bad – appreciating that most people aren’t having a grand ole time and I’m pretty damn lucky to be where I am today. I think now more than ever it’s important to remember that no matter how bad your situation may be, there’s always someone out there having a worse time. And if you are doing well, realize that if everyone around you isn’t doing well, we all suffer. So help if you can. Do your part. In the meantime, you can find me on my couch, playing Gardenscapes on my phone and watching another completely unnecessary but still gratifying Netflix series.