I turned 35 a month ago. I was in the midst of writing a cutesy, listy post about my life Right Now, a post with a few cutesy bullet points about my mounting COVID-19 anxiety and ha-ha the end is near!
Clearly, I cannot finish writing that post. It’s just impossible.
My only birthday wish was to go to the gym. It had been a few weeks – with various activities and sick/grumpy kids interfering – and I was worried about losing our good family habit.
Birthday activities and grumpy kids interfered; we didn’t make it. A few days later, my gym closed indefinitely. A few days after that, my husband’s school closed, my child’s preschool closed, my library closed. A few days after that, everything else closed, too.
The good news? I think I may be uniquely equipped to the isolation lifestyle. Like, maybe I’ve been preparing for this eventuality for many years of my adult life. Accidentally.
- I am a super introvert. An introvert’s introvert, if you will. I’m sure I have actively desired social interaction at points in my adult life… but I can’t actually remember any of those points off hand. I am really quite content to interact with the humans I happen across in my daily life, follow on the Internet, or the ones that live in my house.
- I live and die by my YNAB budget, I’m always trying to find ways to trim down my expenses, and I am overly concerned with our overall financial security. We have public sector jobs, some savings, and I like trying not buying things.
- I recently spent a number of months “focusing on meal planning.” Thinking about it. Figuring out how I like to do it. Trying out different options. I have now been told that I should buy groceries as infrequently as possible, that when you do shop groceries may be scarce, and that I should have an extra two-weeks worth of food on hand at any given time. Oh. A new challenge! Cool. I’ll figure it out. Let me show you this shopping list I have in Excel that is laid out by aisle of my grocery store, and have you heard about this cool new cost-saving efficiency called “reducing food waste?” It’s a real thing, guys.
- Speaking of food, my pantry is pretty well-stocked. And I can make pizza dough. And hummus. Mayo. Salad dressing. Stove-friend tortilla chips. Practically any dessert ever. (Note to future apocalypse shoppers: buy extra butter… then buy extra-extra butter). I have a three year old sourdough starter in my fridge.
- Speaking of apocalypse shopping….we cloth diaper! One less thing to stock up on…. aaaaaand I really don’t fear a toilet paper shortage whatsoever. Gross but true.
The bad news?
It’s practically endless. It ranges from the personal to the universal; from the mundane to the profound; from annoyance to devastation. So much fear. So, so much anxiety. I run anxious. I am often worried. I have anxiety. I don’t know which of those last three sentences are most accurate, but it all means that I can now measure my formerly abstract stress in now disturbingly physical ways. Am I tingling? Shaking, maybe? Are my abdominal muscles pulling in on themselves and clenching down on some invisible point of dread? What is the distance between my shoulders and my ears?
I had a lot going on this year, I really did. A lot of normal-life stuff to worry about and manage, and other projects to really, really focus on.
Now, like nearly everyone else on the planet, I have something else entirely. A new life where, every day, I am fall down on my knees grateful for my continued income, my healthy family, my supportive, hard-working, creative husband, my extremely cute children. Where every day I try to show up and be my best for them. A new life where I live with dread that whatever daily joys I have will soon be taken from me, like they are being taken from so many others in my community and country: by unemployment, scarcity, disease, or death.
A new life where I bake a lot of bread, drink too much coffee, and can’t even tell you where my to-do list is much less what’s on it.
35, I thought you would be a big year. I didn’t know you’d be like this. But here we are, and here I am. At home, where I have to be. Where I love to be. Hello.