Ten Things I've Learned in Quarantine
I’m back after an almost one-year hiatus from the blog! I have been busy writing and editing the first two books in my debut romantic suspense series, Dìleas Security Agency, and I’m about ready to start the third book. My writing adventures, however, are for future blogs.
Today, I wanted to throw out my top ten list of the things I’ve learned during the pandemic. We live in some crazy times, folks. I don’t think anyone is going to be sad to kiss this year goodbye on December 31st. Having spent over four months at home now, here is what I’ve discovered about myself. See if any of these apply to you:
I’m an introvert: Sure, I’ve got a big mouth, interrupt people, and use my hands when I talk, but…three plus months with nowhere to go? No problem. I happily holed up in my writing room. The only change I had to negotiate was tolerating the three other people in the house who didn’t leave after breakfast and return at dinnertime (made the dog happy, though).
I drowned or suffocated in another life: I already have a shark phobia (big time), but trying to breathe through a mask was triggering at first. I never feel like I’m getting enough air (I’m getting used to it). It’s still not as bad as trying to breathe through a SCUBA regulator, which is usually done in the ocean (see: shark phobia, above).
You really can get everything delivered: Groceries, restaurant food, household supplies, furniture. This may not have been a good thing for introverts to discover. I now order my groceries online, not because I’m afraid to go to the store, but because I’m lazy.
Children are great... Until they kick you (routinely) out of your writing room because it’s the best place to take a final exam, AP exam, study…Oh, don’t worry kids, Mom can write anywhere. (But she’d really like to be in her writing room.)
I’m a night owl: I already knew this, but having everyone in the house all day means my best writing time is now 8:30 pm to 2:00 am. Ugh. However, having everyone in the house all day means I can sleep in until 8:00 am. Yay! Yes, this night owl needs more sleep.
My husband is still alive: Seriously, this is a big one, because pre-quarantine, I’d give him “the look” if he wasn’t out the door by 8:00 am each morning, and he’d get “the look” if he came back home before 5:00 pm (preferably 6:00 pm). He’s been working from his home office since March, keeping to a routine, and it’s actually worked out pretty well. No more reason to fear empty-nesting when the time comes (soon).
Social media is terrible for the public health: I’m spending less time on social media. (I know, you’d think it would be the opposite.) People do nothing but complain, attack, and lecture on social media nowadays. This pandemic, the economy, and social injustice have given everyone adrenal fatigue. Let’s all try to mix some gratitude in with the attitude.
Make sure you’re fully dressed and muted on your Zoom meeting: I had to throw this one in. It’s not so much me making these faux pas but I’m sure everyone at this point has had to conduct a meeting or other gathering on Zoom. First, don’t just dress from the waist up. You will stand at some point and flash your boxer briefs or jammy bottoms. Second, we can hear your dog yapping, your spouse talking (loudly), and your phone ringing (it’s even more fun when you answer the phone and start speaking to your caller). And don’t pick your nose, or your teeth, in front of other people.
You can eat properly and stop drinking (for a while) while confined: I love my wine. Unfortunately, wine triggers my carb cravings, which love to put fat on me. The first two months of quarantine, you would have had to pry the wine bottle and snacks out of my cold, dead hands. By May, I decided to suck it up and quit drinking alcohol and stick to lean protein and veggies for a month. No bread products, no processed food. Once you get through that first week of carb withdrawal, it’s not so bad. Fifteen pounds later, I have slowly begun to reincorporate wine, dairy, nuts, and grains back into my diet and still maintain my weight loss. This is not my first rodeo, but each time, a bit more of the good habits stick. Check-in with me this time next year to see how I did keeping the weight off. I feel great, BTW.
Learn to care but keep perspective: This, too, shall pass—all of it. Many writers are introverts, and we prefer to inhabit the worlds of our creation rather than face the ugliness of the real world. Others of us struggle with anxiety and depression, and the problems of the world hit us deeply and threaten to drag us under. Find the middle ground. Care about your fellow humans. Affirm their right to dignity and happiness but stay positive and hopeful. Spread love and compassion, even to those who disagree with you.
What have you learned about yourself during the pandemic? Feel free to chime in on my pages: Facebook: /CSSmithAuthor19; Instagram: @c.s.smithauthor; or Twitter: @cssmithauthor1.