Notes From the City: March 2020

^^ In our house, it’s impolite to let anyone have an afternoon nap alone. ^^

This past month has certainly taken a different turn from the last. Instead of being able to share adventures from the city, this month I can only share the adventure of hunkering down in my apartment and using my dishwasher as a drying rack for all my hand washed socks.

I’ve been trying to journal everyday during self-isolation to document the ways the world, and I, are navigating the pandemic. I know it’s something I will look back on in the future and say, wow, remember that? I am looking forward to those days of looking back — of eating pasta on open patios in the sun, laughing with friends as our sunglasses become slightly askew from our second glass of rosé, and saying, “Remember when we were all in New York for the pandemic?” Those days might be very far away from this moment and while tempting with their siren songs, I’ve been trying to stay focused on the present and what I can control in this moment. Easier said than done of course.

^^ Outside the closed Brooklyn Library on a Saturday evening waiting to celebrate a friend’s birthday with a socially distanced walk in the park. This was much earlier in March, now we’re all self-isolating separately.  ^^

^^ This was said socially distanced birthday party which was a sweet reminder that the little things can actually mean the most. ^^

^^My neighbor during afternoon walks. Usually you’re always walking past people but now, you can essentially walk anywhere because there is no foot or car traffic. ^^

Like everyone, this time has come with a lot of highs and lows. I’ve had to draw boundaries around how much news I’m consuming everyday, and try to focus on setting up daily routines that keep me focused and present. Essentially much of my routine hasn’t changed. I am still working full-time and from home — something I often did before — and spending my evenings doing things entirely unrelated to work like online yoga classes or Facetiming friends or baking. I need that break desperately right now because researching coronavirus content all day for work has been draining. While so much feels similar to my regular routines, it’s like viewing those routines through a trick mirror because they’re shaky and distorted.

My focus has been pretty shattered lately and what normally takes me an hour to get done, is now taking me twice as long. While I still go on daily walks, the energy of New York is somber and quieted, it feels at time like the city itself is grieving. Almost all businesses are shuttered except the non-essentials, and the number of people out walking is minimal. It’s a contrast to the blooming of spring happening up and down our streets. I’m learning during this time the importance of routines but also how difficult it is to be self-disciplined when stressed and anxious. I have been trying to start a morning writing routine in order to infuse more of my day with uninterrupted creativity and so far, I’ve slept through all of them.

Somedays, finding the silver linings comes naturally. I am employed and working full-time. I have the world’s cuddliest cats keeping me company. I am healthy, my family is healthy, I have a wonderful support system. I am comfortable in my self-isolation and constantly being checked on by people and able to do yoga from my living room and have the means to be creative. I have health insurance, I have savings, and I’ve been lucky enough to buy supplies ahead of time in order to stay out of the way of other people. And at the beginning of the month I got to celebrate my grandma’s birthday in California, surrounded by my entire family, something we couldn’t have done even two weeks later. I hold a lot of privilege in this moment and I don’t take it for granted, especially with so many on the front lines battling this illness in-person.

But somedays, because I am a human person, I am in no mood for silver linings. During this time of self-isolation, I’ve found myself impatient with people and their responses to our conversations about how New York has being impacted so heavily. Yes, this will pass someday but what about the economic implications it will have longterm? And what will be done to help the three million unemployed now in the U.S.? How will small businesses survive? I’ve also been impatient with myself in moments, finding it easy to compare myself others. When I see people getting competitive on social media about all they’re accomplishing during their time of self-isolation, my first reaction is to throw my hands up and yell, GAH! HUMANS! WHY! I mean, have you ever seen so many loaves of banana bread on your Instagram feed in your life?

(Note: I now have four ripe bananas which I’ll be making into a banana bread. Damn. So yes, I now too will be becoming a banana bread person.)

But then I remember that we’re all humans coping the best ways we can in this current moment. And who am I to judge? The other day after creating my sick plan, I made a “If you feel up for it, here are some things you’ve been wanting to do” list that’s currently hanging on my fridge and I’ve been trying to check one thing off of a day.

That is one thing about this month that has stood out, it’s noticing the things I’ve found myself missing and the things I haven’t thought of at all. They aren’t big things, but rather the little moments. Walking in the city without a destination, stopping at coffee shops along the way and reading in parks. Having friends over for dinner or meeting for a beer. Going on dates to the movies or grabbing a meal after work. I am missing the city deeply though so appreciative of my apartment and neighborhood in Brooklyn. I miss taking yoga and dance classes in person, realizing now how much I enjoy the communal feel of working out in a group. I even miss my subway commutes as they’re the time I dedicate solely to reading each day.

^^  When dates still included eating out in the world and not just watching “Love Is Blind” over Google hangouts. ^^

Right now, life is a lot of virtual tea dates with friends and cooking and writing on this here blog. It’s making game plans each morning of things that would feel good to accomplish, like today’s which included making a list of businesses/organizations to support this next month through orders or donations, cooking a new recipe for dinner, working on my blog business plan, and hosting a cosy reading night with my friends virtually — something I’ve always wanted to do. It’s about the little things and learning to adapt as best I can — including not being able to show my coworkers much of my apartment because underwear is drying everywhere.

So wherever you are in the world and however you’re feeling, I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy. After this month feeling like a year, I am both nervous and curious to see what April will hold, hoping it brings a bit of relief as it ushers in spring across the city.

^^ Peace out March, from my mirror selfie of my young Professor McGonagall-inspired work from home outfit last week. ^^

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