Happy 4th of July!!
Although it’s our nation’s birthday, our celebration of independence is slightly tainted by the looming pandemic. COVID-19 rages through our country. Without a unified national response, USA has 25% of the world’s coronavirus deaths. This is such a dark moment in our 244 year history. Oh America, put a mask on! I’m counting on you to do better.
And speaking of counting, by my count….
- It’s been 114 days of quarantine or isolation for me.
- I have spent time with only 19 people in-person in the last 3.5 months.
- I was sheltered in place for 2.5 months.
- During that sheltered time, I was basically in my studio condo for 23.5 hours a day. I allowed myself a daily half-hour walk outside.
- I have been working at the AllianceChicago for 7.5 months… half of that has been remote.
- I’ve escaped the city 3 times for a brief respite at my sister Jenny’s lakehouse. (This picture is her neighbor’s tree at sunset. My mom loves this tree.)
- I have 6 masks.
Chicago has moved into Phase 4. I’m basically still in Phase 2. I haven’t been to a restaurant yet. I get groceries delivered. Starting in June, I’ve had dinner with friends weekly but primarily outside. I haven’t ridden public transportation (bus, train or Uber) since the beginning of March. Although Josh and I are working out in person now, we choose my roof over the building gym. I had a pedicure but not a manicure. I had my hair cut but not colored. I’ve done four virtual wine tastings. I’ve virtually played BINGO and Taboo. I’ve attended virtual happy hours, potlucks, podcast clubs and scavenger hunts. I’ve had a standing multi-city friends’ Zoom hang every Saturday. The family has its ritual Sunday evening check-in. And my big TGIF moment is shutting down my work computer and opening up a puzzle.
It’s been a strange time to say the least… more like surreal. Even though this relentless monotony is palpable, I remain grateful and comfortable. My family and friends are healthy. I love my job and can work remotely. I have a regular paycheck and health insurance.
This pandemic is a forced pause in my life. I’m trying to learn from it. I’m working on seeing it as an opportunity to enhance my mind-body-spirit. What else can I do to be a better person? Have an impact? I continue to adapt my lifestyle for this lingering plague without an end date.
I made two vital purchases that have made my pandemic so much better. In March, I bought a mini trampoline. It helped me get my FitBit steps in especially when I wasn’t supposed to leave my house. I sometimes jog on it for twenty minutes. It’s been a huge benefit. In May, I bought Dutchie! She is this cute, comfort bike that has an Amsterdam vibe. Bikes have gotten scarce in this COVID-19 era. When I started looking, the internet told me no Retrospec bikes within 100 miles. I did some research, started emailing smaller bike shops and secured her after a couple weeks. It’s a game changer. Originally, the lakefront was closed from March until mid June. It forced me to bike on the street. So, I did a neighborhood parameter sweep. Now, I’m on the lakefront most mornings for a pre-work ride. I love it! The scenery reminds me how beautiful Chicago is and how fortunate I am to live here.
I have found reading difficult. My mind wanders into the pandemic corners of my mind. I’ve listened to three books: Whiskey in a Teacup by Reese Witherspoon, White Fragility by Robin Diangeld and Race Matters, 25th Anniversary by Cornel West. Reese’s book was nice, light and frothy stories about her Southern upbringing. She narrated it too which made it amusing entertainment. When the protests started over the horrific death of George Floyd, I knew I needed to continue to educate myself on racial inequity. I need to learn how I can be a better ally. White Fragility is excellent. The chapter on “White Women’s Tears’ was particularly a gut puncher. I’m about halfway through Race Matters. It’s also an eye opener. I’ve heard Dr. West speak on different shows and have always been impressed by his insight. I need to take responsibility and continue to educate myself so I can inform change in myself and others.
One of my pandemic revelations is I need a little more space. My studio condo has served me well for over 15 years. I love my place! Yet, when it serves as my bedroom, living room, office, fitness center, yoga studio 24/7, it feels cramp. I feel like the second wave this fall/winter is going to force us to again stay home. I want to stay home in a bigger space. This month I hired a handyman to paint and tidy up my place. Once he’s done, Bill will list my place for sale. If it sells, I’m going to use the money for a down payment on a one bedroom condo. My goal is to get a place in my same building. I love my high-rise with its beautiful garden and rooftop, a fully-stocked commissary and receiving room. I feel safe and secure here. The management has especially done a great job during the pandemic and the protests with regular communiques to the residents. I am picky about where in the high-rise. I want something in my tower, on the 20th floor or higher with the same or slightly better view. I’m in the best possible scenario. I love my place. I can live out the plague indefinitely here. Still, I’d like a little more space. Who knows? We’ll see!
The routine of the pandemic does have me at my healthiest. I take all my vitamins. I regularly exercise with Josh. I do yoga. I bike. I walk. I cook. I eat my veggies. I stay hydrated. I meditate. Other than drinking too much wine, I’m a healthy opponent for the plague. I’m not looking to confront it. I will continue to avoid scenarios I feel are too risky. Josh wisely tells me to ‘move from fearful to careful.’ I’m being cautious as I learn to live thru a pandemic.
This is a long road to the vaccine. Stay safe. Mask up. Have courage and be kind.