Three weeks ago, we had a family emergency. My dad fell at home and woke up the next morning confused and in a lot of pain. Mom drove him to the hospital and, because of the pandemic, was forced to leave him there alone. Because of his Parkinson’s disease, he was kept overnight for observation. As you know, it’s not the best time to be in the hospital, and mom was understandably upset.
All I wanted to do was put on my face mask, jump in the car and drive over to see them. But, I couldn’t do it. I was still sick and the risk of infecting my parents was too great. Thankfully, he came home the next day with a broken arm.
And there it is. The dark side of life under quarantine. Yes, I miss shopping – I mean visiting – my favorite bookstores and going to the grocery store without having to suit up in a mask and gloves. But not being with my loved ones in their time of need was the absolute worst.
And here’s another thing. I have no boundary between working at home and my family life. It’s all blended together now. Quarantine has ruined working from home for me. I don’t mind the occasional day at home when I need to run a personal errand, but I miss the camaraderie of my colleagues in the morning. I want to go for a walk around the building with my friends. The courtyard in the office complex was recently renovated, and I was looking forward to sitting in the sun on my lunch break.
On the other hand, I’m not in a rush to go back to the office or other public places. For those who don’t know, I live outside of Philadelphia, and we have had more than our fair share of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Most people around here take social distancing seriously, but I am sure there are a few outliers. And I have to be okay with the fact that I don’t know who those people are. Thankfully, we have an excellent governor who knows how to lead in a crisis. However, this still doesn’t alleviate the anxiety I feel around this new normal.
When I do feel it is safe to go out with people, the first place I will make a beeline towards is a local restaurant. I don’t care if I have to bring my own silverware. I just don’t want to plan and cook every day anymore. Before the pandemic, I had a few go-to recipes, and even I’m getting tired of them. If you send me recipes, I’d love to have them, but make sure they are easy ones, please.
And finally, did you know that Shakespeare wrote King Lear while quarantined? I say – good for him. I’ve read so many articles about all the wonderful things people can do while self-isolating – start a business, write a book, and solve world hunger. The pressure to succeed is out there, and I’m feeling it in here.
Is it okay if I just get out of bed every morning and do the best that I can? Yes, I’m working on a book, and I’m trying to build up a side gig as a freelance writer all while still gainfully employed. But there are plenty of times when you will find me sitting on the couch with a bowl of ice cream watching The Crown on Netflix. And that’s okay too. And later on, if someone asks me what I did during quarantine, I’m going to happily say that I survived.