Notes From Isolation

So I woke up this morning. Did morning things. Said to myself “why am I making the bed?” The cat, being present, had no answer. The question remained.

I have been trying to establish routines, even though they differ from those I was used to. Some days I am more successful than other days. Finding productive ways to fill the time on some days, reading all day on others. I have striven to exercise most days although I am not a super motivated gym rat type. But I know how much better I feel when I exercise, despite the various aches and pains of sixty seven. I am growing things I have never succeeded in growing before – the pleasure of seeing tomatoes ripen, the promise of cucumbers. The cat is my constant companion, always near, begging like a small dog.

Now, as my state goes into phase one of reopening, I wonder what my “normal” will look like. I do not believe it is time to reopen, I do believe the numbers will continue to go up and that more people are going to die. We are not done with this thing here in Florida.

In the land of the free, the camo people believe that their rights trump (pun intended) the good of the majority; although I must say I don’t know who they were going to shoot armed as they were. It is always stunning to me that so many people don’t understand that every right has a corresponding responsibility, or burden. Rights don’t stand alone folks, they don’t exist in a vacuum. But that is a rant for another day.

So frankly, I don’t think my new normal will look much different than my current normal, at least for a while. Maybe I will stop purchasing everything I need, or don’t, on Amazon. Maybe I will go to the store a little more often. I am “high risk” according to the CDC and so I will continue to wear my mask, use my wipes and distance myself from others. I will wait to work until it is safe and continue to struggle with my bills. Maybe, when I can, I will get a haircut.


Get Up, Make Your Bed, Write

During this odd time of isolation, I see people’s posts on social media perhaps more than I ordinarily would. A great many of them talk about spending all day in pajamas, being paralyzed, eating too much, binge watching shows I have never heard of.

And not that I haven’t done all of those things; a little. I think, unfortunately, we are in this for the long haul despite what the talking heads are currently saying. I think normal is behind us and a new normal has to happen, and will whether we like it or not.

And taking the long view, pajamas really won’t cut it, binge tv is fine in the evening and eating all the time will only result in high blood sugar and blubber. So what to do?

Since retiring I can’t say I get up early. One of the great joys of retirement is going to sleep when I’m sleepy and waking up when I’m not, although I try to go to sleep at a reasonable hour just to keep my rhythms intact. But once up I am establishing a routine. I make my bed. A small thing I know but it makes me feel as if I am actually¬†up like a real person with things to do. I exercise as best I can, I am not a super motivated exerciser but I am doing it despite myself – not enough – but doing it. I get dressed in outside world clothes. Yes, it has been a good while since I put on makeup or jewelry and I definitely need a haircut, but I am dressed.

Of course the first weeks of this experience was taken up with arranging bills, finances, long long phone holds with various companies and agencies. Frustrating but necessary. Then there was getting my son and his fiancee home; his job ended. It was complicated and full of drama but it is done.

Then there was tending my plants and my tiny garden. There will be tomatoes! It is pretty exciting. There will be cucumbers. This is all assuming the snails don’t get them, or the squirrels, etc. But all my plants are very happy as the normal benign neglect has ended and they are tended daily.

Then there was cooking. Oh yes, made bread, apple galette, and all manner of other things. Now mostly cooking healthy food for myself, not so creative but less blubber making.

And there is banging out songs on the piano. And there are all those myriad of household chore/projects that I have procrastinated for years. I am slowly but surely getting rid of paper. I am going through clothes. I am sorting through old cooking magazines that I just don’t need. I am catching up on my New Yorker reading, as well as chewing through every unread book in my house. The problem, of course, with reading is that I end up sitting all day and that is not healthy for me. So I try to confine my reading to the later part of the day, I do not easily relinquish a book once I sit down with it.

We have organized the garage, cleaned the lanai, scrub our bathrooms regularly, vacuum, dust, trim the hedges, go for walks. All to fill the days that used to be filled with social activities – teaching, meeting, rehearsing, lunches, dinners, friends.

And of course there is writing, the thing I now have time for and don’t do enough. Sitting still is hard, unhealthy, so this is the hardest of all. Nevertheless – Get up, make your bed, get dressed, do something productive and do something that makes you happy. Don’t sit too still.