It wasn’t until the governor’s declaration that I stayed home. I had been following the progression of the pandemic but had decided with social distancing, hand-washing, and other recommended practices I would be ok.
Don’t get me wrong I love my home, but the additional hours spent in the house seemed like a recipe for decline. I’ve got a good five years before I can retire and doubt that I will even then. I thrive on being busy!!!
That first week I developed a close personal relationship with my couch, Netflix, Cool Ranch Doritos, and guacamole (go figure). I was still getting up when the alarm went off each morning but walked around in my pajamas but wondering why.
I still thrive on being busy but have used this time to reset, to think about not just how I could work smarter but how I would reevaluate the things that really mattered to me making them the engine driving my activities moving forward.
These days when the news cycle is primarily filled with angles/stories of the pandemic, I have used my weekly blog radio podcast through its guests to highlight ways communities are planting the seeds for our new reality. The conversations with the guests from across the state and country have been hopeful, inspiring, and incredible. We’ve talked about diet, connecting with others, poetry and yoga – lots of yoga!
Being on quarantine means not being with the community but has opened new doors. Like so many others my family is spread out across the country – my brother in Los Angeles, my son in New York. Thanks to FaceTime I virtually toured my brother and his girlfriend’s new home. I have been watching my son parent and granddaughter grow. It even helps keep the romance alive when I am quarantined at home while my love is quarantined at her home.
Let’s not forget “Zoom” which has allowed me to participate in board meetings in Atlanta GA, attend a social justice power hour in Princeton NJ, and share poetry with audiences in New York, New Jersey, and here in Metro Detroit. I’ve met new people in these virtual settings who shared their talents and ideas with me. There’s a lot of good going on out there in the real world – virtually.
I’m working on a new book of poetry some inspired by this time alone and the virtual conversations I have had with people across the country. I have even connected with others globally. My second children’s book is being illustrated by a talented artist in India. I have had time to participate in a collective reviewing grants that are funding grassroots organizations transforming communities and doing some consulting work.
I even adopted a cat from the Michigan Cat Rescue named “Pancake.” Watching him come out of his shell as he realizes he now has a “forever” home has been a great joy.
But best of all, in a world of social media and texting, I have rediscovered the joy of hearing the human voice by picking up the phone and calling friends. The laughter, the slight change in tone, hearing about life in more than 160 characters, a GIF or a meme, and responding with more than a thumbs up, heart, or emoji.
I am still busy but in this time of social isolation, I am finding the time and space to sow the seeds of my new normal.