The joys of quarantine

Quarantine sucks…there I said it. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said it over and over the past few months, but I’m done saying it. Somewhere along the lines those feelings changed, and while quarantine and restrictions are difficult and challenging and rather annoying at times, I can honestly say, I do not feel it sucks.

Like everyone I had to find my footing. I needed to take back some sense of control and be able to exert my own power over the limited choices that were available to make. Once I did that, my perspective began to slowly shift.

I was used to working from home, but I was also used to being away from home A LOT. I traveled often, I had a very busy social calendar with activities and events. Day times were not an issue, but the evenings were. I felt trapped going from room to room. I felt like a rat in a maze with no way out, or at the very least with no path to the cheese that would provide some satisfaction.

The jokes on social medias started – people going on vacation to “Puerto back yarda” and using that silly premise, I came up with a plan and assigned the rooms in my house to different activities so that there would be a feeling of “going somewhere”. And believe it or not, it actually began to work and I was no longer sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself, but engaging my mind and body again. I got back to exercising making use of my treadmill, heavy bag and yoga mat and followed live online workouts. Thank goodness for #cko. I limited work to my office and closed the door every night to disconnect officially from work. I assigned social media, electronics, tv watching, mindless activities to the living room. More serious thought took place in my dining room such as prayer, blogging, poetry, future planning. My kitchen which has always been one of my favorite places, became a culinary creative space where I pushed the limits further than usual.  Guess who grew her own sourdough starter and is now an expert bread maker?

Using these techniques I began to feel comfortable and joy started to creep back in. I started to read more, I created this blog, I discovered rock painting and now I am a paid artist having sold multiple rocks to interested buyers. I also joined twitter, although I’m not sure why yet exactly, I still do not even understand the whole instagram thing and I’ve been doing that for years.. but whatever.. my point is, I’ve begun doing several new things that odds are I would not have considered without confinement.

Our circle remains small. The biggest joy to occur during these crazy times – our first grandchild, a beautiful little boy, was born in the midst of all this chaos. I will never wish away 2020, or say it was the worst year ever. Despite it all, we were blessed with this little miracle. He has stolen our hearts. We are able to spend time with him since we pretty much only interact with our immediate family and limited masked up, carefully planned, socially distant encounters taking all precautions with a few select people.

We have a second home in NYS we share with two other couples and my husband and I who both have become unemployed due to Covid, him totally, my hours have been cut 80% down to the equivalent of one day a week… but I still have a job and health insurance.. anyway, we have been going up there more frequently.

It is on 40 acres, there is no internet/wifi so when we are there we are pretty isolated from the chaos and nonsense the world is spewing right now. It serves as self preservation, self-care time and has been extremely freeing and refreshing. We can hike and go to waterfalls, we can take the quad to the top of our mountain and get lost in the trees, we can eat indoors following safety precautions, we can spend time on our back deck watching the sun set, or have a campfire, or sit through a torrential rain storm, we can stare at the vast sky and watch shooting stars, we can just be still and appreciate all that life has given us.

Bottom line is life is life and we sometimes have no control over what happens next. How we react to it, as well as how we can prepare for it, makes all the difference in the world. We can allow it to defeat us, or we can find a way to make the best of it. We can dig deep and find out things about ourselves that would have otherwise been left unexplored.

I start each day with quiet time, prayer and reflection. I am taking each day as it comes and I setting the tone for a good day. If a day seems to be heading in the wrong direction, I make the necessary adjustments to change course. No matter what, each and every day I dig for the joy. I choose to seek the joy, I know it exists in there somewhere.. sometimes right in front of our eyes, sometimes just below the surface, and sometimes buried way down deep below the muck.

All I know is, I have this feeling of peace within me, letting me know that things will work out. I do not know exactly how or when, but I am certain, everything will be ok as long as I remain true to my faith and continue to spread the love.

Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.Proverbs 16:3

Things will probably never be exactly like they were before or at least not for a very long time until the memories start to fade. I refuse to allow that to define me or make me bitter, nothing can steal my joy unless I allow it to happen! Quarantine or not, job or not, dining out or eating home, parties, concerts, events or not, it doesn’t suck to be me right now because I choose joy. What do you choose?

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