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Life in a time of Covid-19

How are you all doing out there in IsolationLand? Have you managed the physical distancing part of this pandemic? We’re coping in our house, sort of. I am by far the one who is taking it most seriously. The rest roll their eyes at my efforts. There is some scoffing. One leaves the house regularly to meet up with friends.

I heard a new word today: coronusional (Benji Lovitt) – Holding beliefs that you will actually accomplish in quarantine all the tasks you have put off your entire adult life.

It’s true. The past two weeks I have been witness to so many people making such good use of their time – concerts from their living rooms; exercise classes for kids; lists of chores meted out by day; making artisan bread and canning meat; clapping for health care workers, from balconies around the world; hand-drawn pictures or stuffies in windows. The list goes on. It’s enough to make you just quit. Honestly, there has never been a time where I have felt more Generation X (except for the early ‘90s, when I had a bunch of McJobs. Oh, and that time when I couldn’t get promoted at work because of my age – my theory).

I sit at my computer all day, with half that time spent on social media. Well, maybe not quite, but I’m so consumed with all the good I see on social media that I’ve lost my motivation. I have never been a joiner. Clubs, political parties, book clubs or Tupperware parties. I can give them all a pass.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m a connector. Through and through. I will connect you to someone who knows someone who can help you with what you need. That’s my thing.

But after that? I leave it to others for the execution of the task. Often. Not always. I’ve made a lot of things happen in the community, but I’m also happy to watch others make things happen. I help when I can, and I always consider my family’s needs first. I don’t need to join the club. I’ve always hovered at the edges of community life, and I’m usually okay with that.

So, here I find myself with time to do all those things I’ve wanted to do. But I’m not doing it. Any of it.

  • Work on my novel.

  • Learn Spanish – because I WILL go on the Camino Primitivo when this is all over.

  • Exercise – some kind of routine, at least. I’m doing a bit – a walk most days.

  • Clean out the drawers in the dining room cabinet.

  • Sketch

  • Read all day.

  • Nap.

What am I doing? Puzzles. Writing daily journals. Some cooking. No cleaning. Research for my long-form essay, which I think is stalling before I’ve even started writing it.

There are a bunch of memes going around, in these days of Covid-19: GenX was built for coronavirus – we lived through the AIDS epidemic. Our entire childhood was like: Stay home. Watch TV. Eat leftovers. Talk on the phone. We’ve been sitting on the couch since 1988.

It makes me laugh, because in a way, it gives me permission to be myself. I have had highly productive times in my life, while parenting and working full-time. It’s okay to sit back and recharge my introverted soul.

I still care about my community, but I’ve concluded my community doesn’t have to be the whole city. I’ve been checking in on neighbours and friends, taking them meals and calling them on the phone. I’ve been texting and messaging with family and friends, and offering help where I can.

My kids aren’t doing schoolwork. They’re certainly not doing Zumba classes online or even getting any exercise at all. They’re barely getting their chores done. I wonder how they’ll look back on this time, when they’re 51. What will they remember?

The best thing about this whole pandemic is that I’m writing every day. That’s something I struggled with before. I have a sense of the historic significance of this time, and so I am documenting life every day. Not every detail, but enough of our everyday life to get a sense of what it’s like to practice physical distancing, to be in a world where human contact now is online and where the unknown is producing too much fear in some and not enough in others. And a bit about the global experience during this pandemic.

Hang in there. We’re all doing this together. Reach out if you aren’t coping well. It’s okay. Lots of us aren’t.

We will survive.

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