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COVID-19 Quarantine: What’s Good?

Well, all it took was a few weeks at home under self-isolation to get me back on the blog. Truth be told, it’s been on my to-do list for MONTHS to try to write something, but I’ve been “too busy.” But here I am now with no excuses, nowhere to go, and a lot of time to think…so let’s try this again.

To be honest, when I started writing this, I intended for it to be about “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly” of the COVID-19 quarantine. However, the more I wrote, the more of a downer it became. Let’s be honest. We’re all struggling. We’re all anxious about the uncertainty of our circumstances. We’re all having to make sacrifices. There’s a lot of bad. And the ugly? Well, at this point, I AM THE UGLY. Quite frankly, I’m ashamed to go into detail about how infrequently I’m showering or wearing a bra or wearing anything that isn’t pajamas. (True story: I’ve put on “real clothes” OVER MY PAJAMAS to go to the grocery store. Multiple times. It’s ugly, y’all.)

Despite all that, there’s way too much good stuff going on to ignore. So let’s talk about the best parts of the bad situation we all find ourselves in. I know I have a lot more good than many other people do, but I hope we can all keep finding the good in this and celebrating it as much as possible.

Working From Home is Good

To be completely honest, work isn’t great right now. I’m a fundraiser. It’s not a great time to ask for money. Specifically, I ask people to make gifts as part of their estate plans. It’s REALLY not a good time for that. However, the incredible privilege of still having my job and not losing income during this time is not lost on me. Even though work is slow, I am so incredibly grateful to get to continue to work. The fact that I get to do it on my own schedule and wear my pajamas is just a bonus.

I’m also grateful that working from home allows me to spend all day every day with my dog Champ. I recently took him to the vet to check on a persistent stomach bug and found out he has a whole host of health problems we had no idea about. In short, he’s not going to get better. I don’t know if we have months or weeks or maybe even days together, but I know we’ll spend every second we can side-by-side and that makes me so happy.

A Clean House is Good

To be someone who craves order and organization, I am not a very tidy person day-to-day. My house isn’t gross or dirty, per se, but it’s usually messy. Somehow, all of this time spent stuck in my little 1000-square-foot house has slapped the sloppiness right out of me. My house has never been tidier.

After the first few days, I haven’t spent more time than usual cleaning up, either. However, spending every hour of my day at home, I have to live in my mess, and I’ve decided I don’t want to. I don’t want to be working at the dining room table and have to look at 3 water bottles and last night’s dinner plate sitting on the coffee table. I don’t want to look over from the couch and see dishes piled on the kitchen counter or an unmade bed and clothes on my bedroom floor. So now I’ve basically learned what I should have learned like 30 years ago (sorry, Mom!). It’s much easier to just put things away from the beginning than it is to go back and clean up after yourself later. Who’d have thought?

Relaxation is Good

I don’t sit still very well. I like to be productive, and I am almost always working from a schedule. And that schedule us usually pretty full. Even on weekends, I like to get up early and get started on whatever chores and errands I’ve scheduled for myself. I’m always busy, and I’m realizing that I’ve largely created that busy-ness for myself. I don’t have kids to take care of. I’m not balancing a relationship with a partner. I’m not even balancing friendships all that well. Somehow, though, I always find a reason to go and do….all the time. I think part of me thought that if I slowed down, I’d have too much time to think about the kids and partner and vibrant social life that don’t fill my time.

Now that I’ve been forced to slow down, I’m starting to see the beauty in it. I’m learning to enjoy having down time to do things because I want to, not because I believe I have to. In the stillness, I have learned to relax. I’m remembering the value of rest. And I’m finding new ways to spend my free time that actually bring joy.

Sleep is Good

This one might just be me, judging from the number of Instagram stories I’m seeing posted at all hours of the night, but I’m sleeping better than I have in a long time. Before this all started, I was having trouble falling asleep at night, then sleeping through like seven iPhone alarms (you know, the ones that sound like a nuclear emergency) every single morning. I’d drag myself out of bed 20 minutes before I need to leave for work, and I was still exhausted. Now I’ve stopped setting alarms in the morning because I fall asleep by 10 every night and wake up on my own between 5:00 and 6:00 feeling refreshed and ready to go. WHAT IS HAPPENING? Maybe it’s because I’m slowing down. Maybe it’s because my house feels more peaceful now that it’s not messy all the time. I don’t know. I don’t care. I just hope it lasts.

People Are Good

The absolute best part of this crisis, in my opinion, is that I’ve seen the best in people. I literally cry every morning watching the “good news” stories on the Today Show. I’ve cried repeatedly at the kindness shown to me (and Champ) by my people during all of this. We’re all doing the best we can (well, most of us) and, y’all, I’m proud of us. I’m proud of us for staying home. I’m proud of us for honoring those on the front lines of this crisis. I’m proud of us for finding new ways to serve each other as we experience needs we’ve never had. I am proud of us for reinventing what it means to be in community with each other. I wish it hadn’t taken a global pandemic for us to get here (or maybe to make us see all the good that has always been there), but let’s not wait on the next crisis to keep doing good.

I don’t know how long this will last. I don’t know if this virus will hit close to home for me. I don’t know how different our world will be after this. I don’t even know if I’ll still be an introvert when it’s all over (I miss human interaction way more than I ever thought I would). What I do know is that the only way we’re going to come out better on the other side of this is to keep looking for—and being part of—the good. Keep paying attention to the good parts of your day. Keep looking for the good in your community and our world. Keep loving hard and protecting the people around you. The world is changing every day. Let’s make sure it’s for good.