An image of storm clouds over a horizon

Stillness

The pandemic marches on and it waits for no one.

In my mind I see a stormcloud, angry and grey, just looming over us but the rain has stopped. Maybe the clouds will disperse, or maybe the hail will start. WHO KNOWS.

So far, my family is still healthy and well. In fact, I don’t recall us being this healthy for this long in a long time, which tells me that, wow, we were really bad at washing our hands before March. My joints and back are sore a lot these days, and I have regular insomnia. But I’m consulting with a new specialist to try and sort out my joint stuff and think my insomnia is just how my mind is managing anxiety and fortunately I don’t feel (that) tired.

Work is work; it’s fine, and I’m grateful to have it. Some days are wonderful and inspiring and fun and some days are filled with oppressive woe as I learn about more and more businesses that shut their doors and know the sadness and anxiety it is causing for the owners and the staff. But when 4pm rolls around, I can’t shut off my laptop fast enough and I need to disconnect from work. Bada-bing, bada-bang.

I don’t disconnect from my phone, though. Pre-pandemic, I’d weaned myself off of mindless social media scrolling on my phone and was feeling pretty clear-headed about it. I went days without logging into Twitter, and I would pop into Facebook only once in a while. Instagram was my jam and I spent some time looking at pretty pictures, filling up my feed with animals, plants, and lovely wonderful people.

But now, I consume the news like a cup of tea. When you don’t get a daily newspaper or have cable TV, how else do you check what the latest is? For my work, I needed to re-connect to the social channels and they’re how I am staying informed. I’ve curated my feed to be science-focused, but the op-eds do creep in and I’m getting sick of the blame I read. Milennials. Boomers. Government. I understand that it’s comforting for people to assign fault and blame someone for the pandemic’s course but the reality is none of us have any idea how it will go, because everything is based on human behaviour.

What I’m up to these days: I go to karate, with masked instructors, and safe distancing in small classes. I go to the outdoor archery range with my friend. I have a small social bubble that is mostly outdoor interactions, with some limited bathroom use. I garden. I take the dog for walks. I do puzzles. I watch a lot of shows. I paint my nails. I sit in people’s yards for snacks and drinks and chat and sometimes crafts. I mask up when I shop and I rarely browse for the sake of browsing. I miss browsing. We visited our family for a week in another community and we spent a weekend with close friends and both times we limited what we did and it felt nice to be so still. I clean my house. I read. I learn. My life feels small.

I feel mentally ready to add in some brisker walking (not with the dog; holy smokes, is he a slow poke) or maybe even running again. My body keeps asking me to move it more, and I need to listen, I think, though my joint challenges these days feel a bit daunting.

The pandemic is teaching me I have everything I need, a lesson I’ve long struggled to hold on to. But, winter is coming and things will change, and I’m feeling a bit worried that the introspection I’ve benefited from will be undone and the chaos and loneliness I felt in March will be back. I’m working on putting supports in place to make sure that doesn’t happen, but I remind myself that all I can control is me.

This is the first time in years I feel quiet and still enough to listen meaningfully and I’m hearing things I need to hear.

2 months ago