Today is the 54th day of quarantine at the Kennedy house, March 68th. My wife and I are seemingly safe, excluding our grocery runs.
Life hasn’t really changed much for us since I work from home and she doesn’t work. Even though life hasn’t seemingly changed for us - it absolutely has. I’ve never spent much time worrying about my family’s safety. My parents are young and healthy, my siblings are healthy and live in pretty safe areas, but yet I’m finding myself very concerned for them. My grandparents live in Marion, Ohio, which is a trainwreck from an infection rate perspective, so I’ve been pleading with them to take this seriously.
My wife’s family is a similar story to my grandparents, since her parents are older than mine. We worry about their health, but her mom has taken the pandemic seriously despite the government’s best efforts. Thankfully.
Here at home, it very much feels like groundhog day, or Pinky and the Brain - where Pinky always asks “Brain, what are we going to do tonight?”. We’ve played Ticket To Ride: Europe, 692 times. We’ve watched lots of TV. We’ve done puzzles. We’ve stress baked then threw it away because we’re trying to keep an eye on our diets.
We start our day whenever we wake up, because time has no meaning. Sometimes one of us, or both of us, wakes up in a bad mood, because it’s Thursday. Today that was me. We drink our tea in peace and quiet and then I eventually excuse myself to go “work at the library”, which means I park my car outside the library and steal their Wifi. I used to use the library as a co-working space, so it’s one of the very few things I can cling to that seems normal.
I work, or not, depending on where my headspace is. Sometimes what’s more productive than being at the keyboard is taking a walk in the woods. I solve so many problems that way.
My mind is all over the place, which can only be attributed to our change in reality. I’m finding that I’m nearly as productive as before, but gone are the days of sitting down at 8am and shutting the laptop at 5. I’m lucky that I can work when my mind is ready to and my employer is flexible to allow that.
I’m fortunate that my wife and I have the privilege of locking ourselves in our house while still being able to work without compromise. I’m lucky that I work for a company where the leaders lead by example, taking haircuts on salaries, forgoing bonuses and ensuring that our workforce is kept whole.
I’m lucky that even though there’s a pandemic raging outside, my wife and I have been added to the short list of families who will be able to work with our doctor and start IVF.
Is every day a good day? No. In fact, I would say there have been more bad days emotionally than good. I have a lot to be thankful for, but sometimes it’s hard to remember that.
It’s easy to get mad at myself for not exercising everyday or letting the housework lapse, because I just don’t feel like it, but it’s okay. It’s okay to be human, to let some things slide, to struggle with mental health, to be mad, to be sad.
It’s okay to not come out of quarantine having learned a new skill, even though Instagram tells you differently.
It’s okay that we all look a little scruffy, or fluffy, or both. Stress hits us all in different ways, depression hits us in different ways, anxiety hits us in different ways.
All of it is okay.
There will be a tomorrow and the day after that. Eventually, there will be some form of a resolution to this crisis, but please don’t rush it.
It’s not time to go back to restaurants. It’s not time to force employees back into offices where they may not feel safe. It’s certainly not time to leave your house without wearing a mask, especially at the grocery store. It’s not time to not say please and thank you. It’s not time to be grumpy or rude to essential workers.
It’s not time to spread mis-information. It’s not time to protest without masks in your state houses. It’s not your right to infect other people.
It is time to stay home. It is time to be with your family. It is time to play a board game - or just be bored. It is time to read a book, work on a project at home, or start a blog.
It is time to just be.