It’s been two weeks since we were told to stay home. I have increased my intake of social media to an unhealthy level and have been reading about what I can do with all my “free time”.
I realize that I am falling short of expectations.
I have not yet learned Spanish.
I haven’t started on the novel I always hoped to write (or didn’t even know I wanted to write).
I’m barely reading (outside of my obsessive Facebook scrolling).
I haven’t run a marathon in my garage and or read The Hobbit to my daughter.
We don’t do virtual PE (or any PE) every morning or play board games together.
What have I been doing these past two weeks?
A lot of dishes. We now have four people eating 3 meals a day at home.
I have listened to loud conference calls my husband makes from the other room while I try to work. I have snuck down to my daughter’s room on a regular basis (Ninja style) to make sure she is studying instead of watching Youtube videos. (She has a very good screen poker face so it’s really hard to tell the difference).
My biggest achievement is going to the grocery store which is now a stressful experience.
I spend mental energy trying to decide when the best day/time to go is. I stand in line outside the store as people in masks and gloves wait for their turn to go inside. When I’m inside I concentrate on what we need, how to keep away from other people and how to keep from touching too many surfaces, and how much to buy so that I don’t hoard but also am able to feed my family.
I have also taken some naps and spent hours wondering why I don’t have the motivation to do more.
After all this is a great opportunity to get things done, right?
Actually, maybe not.
Let’s face it — this is stressful. This is not the magical gift of time that we imagined. Yes, there can be some unexpected positives but we also need to acknowledge the loss and stress that this is creating. Our best work, our most perfect selves don’t always appear in times of turmoil.
Fear and uncertainty drains our energy. While we cannot always see this energy disappearing we can feel it (at least I can).
If we look beyond the stress this is creating, the sudden lack of structure and isolation makes getting things done hard too. Sometimes the less you do, the less you want to do. Often, ideas are launched through interacting with other people and absorbing the collective energy this brings, not sitting by yourself in front of your computer screen.
So if you are not in the mood to clean out the closets and organize your photos, that’s ok. Give yourself credit for small accomplishments and keep the faith that your normal hectic life will be waiting for you when this is all over — and won’t it be nice.