Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Learning to live in this world.

Well, what a difference a month makes!

It's been almost a whole month since I last posted, and while a lot has changed, we are definitely still living in pandemic times.  And I definitely still hate it.  

But.  BUT.  If the month of May has taught me anything, it is that I can live in this new world.  I don't have to like it, but I can find small sparks of joy.  I can be productive.  I can contribute.  I can find things to look forward to.  And I can enjoy my days.  Despite this stupid damn virus, I can live in this world.

On May 4th, I went back to work after 7 weeks off.  Those 7 weeks are not ones I look back on fondly... they were spent in fear and anxiety, literally waking up each morning with the thought that "Ugh. The world has changed, and I hate it." Followed by:  "I can get through another day...I can do this."  But I struggled to focus, I accomplished little, and there was not a whole lot of joy in my days.  I was nervous about coming back to work, but as the coronavirus pandemic lingered and they warned it wasn't going away anytime soon, I knew I had to get back on the horse.  I couldn't stay home for months and months.  I had to figure out how to make this work.

Being back at work has definitely been good for my mental health.  It is our busiest time of year, and this year is no different.  Being busy during the day gives me purpose, keeps me occupied, and I have less time to think.  I wipe my desk down several times a day, I wash my hands or use hand sanitizer approximately 8 million times a day, and they have taken measures in the office to allow for physical distancing.  I allow myself to check in on what our PM says in his morning press conference, I check updates on the status in Quebec and Ontario, and I look for the numbers in the Outaouais, but otherwise I stay away from the Covid news (and social media in general).  Truly, most days, I haven't had time anyways.  The busy-ness of the season has been a blessing.

A week after returning to work, I started sleeping at my own house again.  I still spend most of my time at my mom's - eating meals there, spending nice weekend days on her patio reading or crocheting, etc. - but I go home to sleep.  Just being back in my own bed, and getting some time to watch Netflix stuff that my mom doesn't want to watch (currently, Ozark), has felt good and restored some normalcy in my life.

Last Wednesday was probably the best day I've had since March 14th.  That was the day the province of Quebec announced that groups from 3 households and up to 10 people could now gather outdoors, keeping the 2 metre distance.  This means my family could now get together to have a BBQ or a visit.  I can't tell you how my spirits soared at this news.  As our province has been gradually lifting restrictions, this was by far the most exciting news I had received yet.  I really don't care about hair salons or shopping malls... what I have missed is our family gatherings.  A few driveway visits and drive-by's have not been enough for me.  I miss them tremendously.  And now we have permission to gather.  This news was so good for my soul.  

That night, I went grocery shopping for the first time since the pandemic started.  The grocery store I usually go to in the neighbouring town is not huge, and it is quieter in the evenings, so it was the perfect time to dip my toe in the waters.  I can't tell you how GOOD it felt to just get groceries!!  I also hit the pharmacy, and had the place to myself.  The whole trip was very successful, and the more times I go "out" - which isn't often - grows my confidence and makes me feel more comfortable.

I've come to the realization that I'm okay living in these days.  I can hang here for a while.  I no longer wake up in the mornings with a pit of dread in my stomach, and I don't spend each day just trying to waste time to pass another day away.  I have come to look forward to my new little routine, my evenings at Mom's crocheting and watching TV, going back to my own bed.  The anticipation of a Friday night, going to Marcotte's to get a treat, having a drink, watching a movie.  Having time on Saturday to cut the grass, then spending the rest of the day outside enjoying the nice weather.  Enjoying food again - my God, what a relief to enjoy food again!

I still wish I could have a girls night or attend book club.  I miss eating at restaurants, and going to the movies.  Sleepovers with the kids.  Strolling through Wal-Mart.  Going to church.  The excitement and anticipation of big events in our community, like Canada Day or Shawville Fair.  Making plans.  This new world feels very unfair and it's something I still very much wish had never happened.  It's definitely not a world I want to live in forever.

But I'm okay.  I've come a long way.  And for now, I can do it.  It's a simpler life, a quieter life, with more time for hobbies and just relaxing.  It's not as awful as I originally thought.

I still pray every single day for a vaccine, a cure, or even a treatment.  But in the meantime, I am proud of myself for learning to live in these pandemic times. I just hope we can get through this, get back to normal sooner than later, and then never have to do this again.