The Best of Times, The Quarantimes
It’s Seattle, 2020.
A virus is spreading and I am out of Clorox wipes. The store doesn’t have children’s Tylenol or toilet paper. We are encouraged only to leave our houses to go the grocery store.
The bookstores are closing, the restaurants are closing, and the orange man in charge told state governments to get their own ventilators.
WHAT THE FRIGGIN’ FRICK?
In a few weeks, I have gone from a person who would eat a fallen cookie off the floor (five second rule) to a person whose hands are chapped from washing them too much.
And yet, at the same time, I am calm. The bear is in the room now. It doesn’t look like I thought it would like, but it’s here.
That’s what anxiety is — going over and over what ifs in your head, preparing for unlikely scenarios. And now, the what the moment is here and I feel calm because I know what it is and I can move accordingly.
Moments like this, terrible times are here to teach you things, to make you rise to your own humanity, to build your mental resiliency, to remember what’s important and that it can be taken away.
Here’s what the quarantimes taught me so far:
- Health is a privilege. I have known this for a long time, as several of my family members have had serious health complications and compromised immune systems. I am no stranger to gloves and masks and scrubbing in and scrubbing out for another person’s survival. I keep telling myself everyday I wake up and I don’t have it and my family and friends don’t have it is a good day. I let the fresh air fill up my lungs on walks and am happy I can walk in the first place. Those are big things.
- I am a good mom. And it’s ok to say it. That’s right. I am not the mom with the organized sock drawer or the mom that makes Pinterest-worthy valentines or the mom with the perfect Christmas photos, who has them framed three days later. That doesn’t mean I am a bad mom. I am the mom who’s going to arrange an amazing living room picnic because I am loving and creative and my daughter is going to have a fun, happy year. I learned from the best (my grandma) that everything can be turned into an adventure. I am giving myself a reprieve from mom-guilt over screen time and french fries and just letting her be.
- I took gatherings for granted. I took so many things for granted — happy hour, cafes, bookstores, travel, theaters. Decades-old friendships. Seeing a band with hundreds of other people all singing the same songs. Was I enjoying the moment or using it to gain likes on social media? Gatherings will be back, but changed. How long until I can hug someone and not think about the virus? What will the party be like when we’re finally free from this thing? Will we ever really be free from this thing?
So the world just received an unprecedented global shake up, otherwise known as a kick in the ass.We will survive this, we are surviving this and most of us will come out into the sunlight as better people.