Pandemic Brain

Tomorrow marks 7 weeks in home isolation for me. As of today, the US remains ahead of the rest of the world with 824K cases and 45K deaths. My home state of Massachusetts is holding down the number 3 spot in the country, while my home county is holding down that number 3 spot within the state.

(Here’s a screengrab of Google’s stats dashboard for corroboration and context.)

Screen Shot 2020-04-21 at 8.12.33 PM

And I am still incredibly fortunate. Every few days brings more individuals in my extended friends circle who have contracted the disease, but so far they have all been able to recover—and recover at home. And (knock wood) everyone in my immediate family remains healthy and safe in their different homes and locations.

So, really, no legitimate reasons to complain.

And yet, I gotta say it: I’m not doing as well as I was when this all started.

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A Tiny Dose of Paranoia

This has been a brutal week for me and my spring allergies. BRU. TAL. The sniffles! The sneezing! The perpetually runny nose! Those uncomfortable bits of dry skin that build up where one’s nostrils meet the upper lip, on account of all the nose-blowing caused by the sniffles and congestion….

Oh, was that a bit TMI? #SorryNotSorry

Of course, during these surreal COVID times, there’s also all the symptomatic second guessing.

woman mask

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Rainy Days and Sundays

I saw one of my college classmates post this on Facebook earlier today:

Rainy days and pandemics always get me down.

Which, funny enough* was something I’d been thinking to myself even earlier in my morning.

Chalk it up to another generational marker. Karen Carpenter and her brother, Richard:

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Small Comforts

I haven’t left the house or yard for 2 weeks now.

Well, that’s a bit of an overstatement. I did help with the pre-social-distancing grocery shopping back on Sunday March 15th.

So, more truthfully: I’ve been mostly in lockdown mode for 2 weeks, and I haven’t left the house at all for 11 days.

To a large degree, very little on the surface of my life has changed. I’m fortunate that I can still do my work from home, so my weekdays are as busy as they’ve ever been. It isn’t even that much of an adjustment for shifting to working from home all week—since I had to do exactly that during November when my elbow was broken and I wasn’t legally allowed to drive anywhere.

Matt has been a telecommuter ever since we moved here to Boston, so him working from home is a complete nothing-burger. We don’t have kids, so we don’t have to cope with the side effects of school closures. And I’m mostly a homebody, so these quiet evenings reading and writing and watching bad TV aren’t really all that different from my quiet evenings pre-COVID.

In many ways, little has changed. And yet everything feels so different.

perspective

Call it the change in perspective.

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The Reading’s On the Wall

Considering the impact my second job had on my writing life for the latter half of 2019, it should be a surprise to absolutely no one that there was also a ripple effect on my reading goals for the year.

No Virginia, I did not read 75 books in 2019. Nor did I finish any of my three reading challenge lists.

miss-the-mark

(I suppose it would have been more appropriate to include a photo symbolizing “falling short” in some way, rather than an image of over-shooting. But when I searched for “missing the mark” this made me giggle out loud, so there.)

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200 Feet at a Time

There’s a metaphor I’ve been exceedingly fond of for quite a number of years. It’s an image that helps pop the balloon of any expectation that you need to have your entire journey mapped out in detail before you’re able to progress and grow and live and all that juicy stuff.

It’s this simple truth. When you’re driving at night, it’s not like the car headlights are showing you the entire route from Point A to Point B. They’re just showing you the next step on the road. But one after the other, seeing each next step a couple hundred feet at a time—well, that’s enough to get you wherever you need to go.

night-driving-black-and-white

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Couch and Kitchen Vegetables

I don’t exactly know what got into me this weekend. So many things I oughta/coulda been doing. Another business trip this week, this one including a presentation. So it might have been smart to be working on my slide-deck, or at least doing laundry and packing. Nope.

(Well, the laundry is in the dryer now, so that’s some small progress, I guess.)

The weekend is also a good time to be a bit more ambitious in my daily actions for the “Pleasure Project” (a.k.a. my RUHCUS). Another soak in the tub, a pedicure, or even the nice feeling of clearing all the uglies out of one of my dresser drawers. But nope.

My entire weekend agenda is pretty much summed up in three verbs: nap, read, watch TV. (1)

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Unapologetically Real

So, Sherri, how’s that RUHCUS thing going, four days in?

Well, Dear Reader, I am experiencing some of the bumpiness that occurs when the best of intentions collide with the realness of life.

I don’t think I’m alone if having that kind of work-based karmic payback that emerges after a 3-day weekend, when you realize that however much you enjoyed that extra day off, you’re now trying to do 5 full days of work in 4.(1) So between the office re-entry and the side gig(2), my Tuesday and Wednesday have not exactly been flush with time for self-pampering.

So I’ve had some real-world, real-time opportunities to practice living in my skin, and to find moments of sensory enjoyment even on the tilty-est of full-tilt days.

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