What originally felt like a life lesson in focusing on what really matters now feels like a bad dream without clear purpose. It’s been over a month in this parallel universe and in the wise words of Taylor Swift “I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I never asked to be a part of”.
I’m struggling to write in my gratitude journal, which feels wrong because at least I’m not sick, but it doesn’t feel right either. When the list of normal things you miss is so much longer than the list of blessings that you are forcing yourself to churn on to paper, it just feels surreal. I am longing for the days when I took gym classes with strangers, once worried about what they might think of me, now wishing they were there to judge me. I miss going out to lunch at a restaurant, even when my meal was incorrect or the service was poor, because at least someone else made it for me. My anxiety has always made going on dates a special form of torture, but I would go as far as to say that I miss having the ability to make myself sick while getting to know someone new, outside of the comfort of my own home.
One of my most recent slightly irrational frustrations has to be with movie story-lines where girls hang out with their friends in cute bistros and kiss random boys when they are out on the town. Watching fictional realities on screen that can’t possibly be true isn’t a recent development, but now we can’t even successfully pretend to be a part of these stories because we are amidst a pandemic! And there is no way those people are 6 feet away from each other!!!
This wasn’t quite what I had in mind when I said I wanted to leave the last decade behind on New Year’s. I’m mourning the loss of trips and experiences, even those I didn’t have planned yet. Just working and passing time. I’m feeling smothered by the need to stay in one place and accept things as they are. Before this pandemic my therapist had told me to remember no person can be an island, I wish I didn’t have the life experience to reaffirm that statement as true.
But just like many other people, I’m making the new normal work. I’m learning to crochet. I’m ordering my groceries for pick-up. I’m talking to my friends on Zoom with a full face of make up and new dress on because I’ll take any excuse. I’m going for long walks. I’m accepting that my screen time is up 12%, watching virtually as we all suffer together while apart. I’m rearranging all the furniture in my apartment, hoping the change in perspective can accompany a change in reality.