Jared helped me realize something important the other day. He had just gotten up from our kitchen table after broadcasting the weather for the morning show. This has become our new normal for a couple weeks now as our world tries to get a handle on battling the Coronavirus. He was wearing the top half of his normal uniform of suit, tie and makeup and on the bottom half, his red gym shorts and a pair of socks that probably could have been thrown out a few washes ago. Just to be clear, nothing really matched and yes, it looked ridiculous. He came over to the kitchen were I was pouring a nice hot cup of coffee and getting ready to load up my computer for the day.
He proudly announced to me, “I am going to take this time of social distancing/quarantining and improve some things about myself that I’ve always wanted to, but never had the time for.” I stopped mid-sip, grinning as I thought that this would be the perfect time to share my small list of things I had come to notice over the past two weeks of our work-from-home together situation that I could add to his list of self-improvement goals. Just to be fair to Jared, there are only a couple things on this list and he knows about them, AND seriously… does anyone have a tutorial on how to properly hand-wash dishes? I swear he washes dishes with his eyes closed and hopes for the best. But don’t feel bad for Jared, he has also taken the time to inform me that I apparently talk too loud when I have my EarPods in. Now back to my picture painting of our current situation . . .
I stood in the kitchen thinking. Staring back at him, still thinking.
“What?” he asked, smiling at me.
See this is one of the things I adore about my husband and it’s also the reason people love watching him on morning tv. He is positive and happy. A lot of people already start their day being irritated or run down by the normal stressors of life. Who really wants to turn on the tv and listen to people who are just as exasperated as themselves? He balances out the regular downbeat pulses of negativity that seem so widely circulated throughout society.
Before I could really answer, I thought of my own attitude about this COVID-19 situation. It’s upended my normal routine. I’m no longer able to go into the office, get together with friends, go to our favorite restaurants for Friday night date night, go to Barre class or visit the grocery store and have all the items I need readily available. Life has without-a-doubt changed. I found that within such a short period of time, I had adapted to the attitude of the masses. I was scared, irritated, sad, overwhelmed and bored all at once.
In further thought, before all of this began, I had always complained that there wasn’t enough time in the day, that I couldn’t accomplish certain things because I spent all day at work and got home late, that I didn’t get to see Jared enough because of our opposite schedules, that the weekends weren’t long enough, and that I was too tired or worn down. I’m actually pretty embarrassed to write out these complaints which really are a pile of excuses I pulled from for just about anything, but I hope others can relate.
If I had to give myself a review of my first two weeks of quarantine, I would pretty much give myself a D- and that honestly might be generous. I found myself still tired and still without enough time. And here I am, at home more than ever and with more available time than I’ve ever really had before. My quarantine accomplishments so far include: gaining 6 pounds, taking a 2-hour nap in the early evenings, going to bed late, not wearing makeup, beginning to drink wine again (I had given it up for 2 months), increasing my screen-time by 28% (according to my iPhone), and stalking the internet for new and often grim news about COVID-19. I began to realize that if I didn’t take this opportunity, like Jared, to finally improve the things I always wanted to improve about myself, I never would. It’s honestly as simple as that. If not now with all of this additional time, then when?
Apparently I managed to create enough excuses no matter the situation. And now I’m trying to figure out at what point in my life I became the type of person who does such a thing, but that thought is for later and yes, I’ve got plenty of time.
I don’t want to be one of those people who (God-willing) comes out of this world-wide crisis saying, “I should have used my time more wisely,” or “if I had known, I would have spent my extra time doing X.” The truth is, we never and will never know the entirety of what the future holds. It’s just not possible. Historically, in adverse times people will either let fear of the unknown allow them to self-destruct or to make themselves new and improved. The choice is ours. So I’ve decided that I’m going to take as much control as possible over this situation. I am finally going to get my 10,000 steps in each day (even if I’m doing laps inside the condo), take time to prepare dinner, eat mindfully (with less snacks), finally learn Spanish, improve my health, and take a few moments each day to reflect and to be grateful for what we have right now.
And yes, I will teach Jared how to properly hand wash a dish because he seems so passionate about not using the dishwasher. For the love of life and for my husband, I will champion this moment and turn it into as much positive energy as possible. I hope you do too!