We’re keeping it together. I think.
This week was LONG. And I say that while acknowledging I only worked three days. It’s strange.
The workday flies, who know where the time goes. Then, you’re in bed feeling like you just woke up. And then you’re doing it all over again. What’s draining is how robotic the process is; I’ve certainly gained new respect for all who work from home and conduct their business digitally on a regular basis.
How effective this work from home format is, I can’t say, though I want to believe that my students who are participating in online learning are, in fact, learning. I mean, I kind of have to believe that if I want a reason to get out of bed each morning. This week, our fourth in self-isolation, we tried our best to be productive, but I think we each had to adjust our expectations of what exactly productivity is in the time of Corona. I try not to indulge the fleeting suspicion that we’re just doing work to fill the time. Our work does have a purpose even if we do not know when we will return to work or what our jobs will look like post-COVID.
I experienced for the first time this week the urge not to get out of bed. I just didn’t want to. And that’s so foreign for me since I’m usually like a little kid on Christmas each morning, restless the minute I open my eyes, shooting out of bed to get my day started. Amanda probably thinks I’m more like a dog greeting her when she gets up with overwhelming (and probably overbearing) enthusiasm, yapping about what we’re having for breakfast and what I’m going to do all day when she probably just wants to wake up. I did eventually get out of bed, so go me!
I still have not gotten into reading, which is disappointing. I guess there’s a reason why the Cormac McCarthy trilogy has been hiding on my shelf for so long. I’m hoping the arrival of Amor Towles’s Rules of Civility and Kelly Rimmer’s The Things We Cannot Say will kickstart my reading. I just have not had the mental energy to read each night after reading off a computer screen from morning to night.
I’m realizing just how critical movement is for my mind, both inside and outside of the house. I’ve begun to break the day up by grabbing a snack or a seltzer or doing a task like getting the mail or cleaning the dishes during the work day. Amanda and I are maintaining an hour of recreational time nearly every day, where we walk through some local parks and along the East River and get some sun and fresh air.
Sure, this time block makes us feel like we’re in prison and having to wear a protective mask is disconcerting. Yet, it’s probably one of the few freedoms we still have in this time of lockdowns, self-isolation, and closings that still reminds us we’re humans. Something to look forward to, something to break up the monotony of sitting at the same desk each day looking at the same screen essentially doing the same thing (even if you switch up your work space like we did this week).
As I’ve become more comfortable with my new routine, I’ve started writing blogs again and working on new nonfiction material about the characters I’ve met in my career. I’m also editing Knowing When You’re Too Young to Grow Up again because I can’t quit on a decade-long project.
And we have been cooking, my God have we been cooking. Amanda even made breakfast one day! I’ll take that as a win. See our Quarantine Week 4 Consumption Recap for the latest on what we’re eating, watching, and reading (eventually).
Overall, we just need to find little wins wherever we can as we settle into our boring routines of work, eat, exercise, entertainment, sleep, rinse and repeat. Whether that be the movie you’ve wanted to see or that series you haven’t had the time to watch or the closet you’ve put off cleaning or the restaurant you’ve been waiting to order from or even the book waiting for you on your shelf, just accentuate the positives.
Because what’s the alternative? Watching the news, feeling completely powerless, and going crazy? It’s not like any one of us can do anything about what’s going on in the world. Be thankful for your health if you have it and for all those who are working to ensure we survive this.
Know that everyone is bored with you. And remember that this is temporary even if it doesn’t seem like it now.