And other thoughts…
I’m a huge fan of late night, the snarky commentary, the bite-sized news, and of course the guests (it’s the best way to keep up with pop culture without doing the heavy lifting).
This week or last, not really sure anymore on an episode of A Late Show with Stephen Colbert, he and his wife mentioned a woman named Suleika while talking to their friend John Baptiste, on her project Isolation Journals.
I immediately had to look it up, and while I already have 6000+ emails in my inbox (don’t judge), I loved the concept so much I had to sign up. Along with 80,000 others.
Premise: A 10-15 minute journaling prompt emailed to your inbox every day of quarantine. Love it!
Create a time capsule of the past month. What has this time meant for you? And more…
The last month has been interesting to say the least. I spent the last month at home with my husband, child and mother-in-law. Lots of fun to be had by all, tons in fact. Now the real version.
It was hard. Hard to stay upbeat and hard to stay chill. I envied those in isolation alone, no one to bother them. We only walked outside once a week on our weekly trip to the market, lugging heavy bags back for a week’s worth of food (sometimes a bit more). Those Saturdays were torture on my back and shoulders. While waiting in line, wearing face masks and gloves, staying 2m away from others and washing before and upon leaving and is this now normal?
We ate pretty much the same, except I did try my hand at baking for the first time ever. I expanded my repertoire from no-bake cookies or pre-made to made from scratch corn bread and chewy chocolate chip cookies. I also made pierogis, like that was a thing I was looking for. So maybe time at home left to our own devices was a good thing, I guess.
The things I’ve struggled with have been simply being a parent. How do you keep a 22 month old occupied all day and not just play tv all day. Is there irreparable damage that I was doing to my child? Not allowing for outside play? Not going to nursery? Not going to arts and crafts class with other kids? Is there a ripple effect that has yet to be found in our children? Are we creating loners and homebodies? Will 2020 be a defining moment in their lives? In all of our lives?
I was already trying to work remotely, freelancing and consulting on my own, but with this pandemic and so many losing their jobs, did the competition blow me out of the water? I no longer had the option of dropping my child off in order to work on projects and branding, and while still-employed were given the at-home option what hope is there for the looking for employment? And what effects in the long-term will there be? Businesses that employ people with any sort of in-person customer service or sales have been shuttered, what will that do to consumer trust when things re-open? All of these rippling topics filtered through my waking and sleeping mind.
I need to keep this in mind: People Who Graduate During Recessions Earn Less Money, But They Are Happier, according to Harvard Business Review. I always focused on the beginning of that my entire career having graduated in 2009 with my MBA. What do graduates circa Covid-19 expect of their future?
Things I’d rather forget were the fickle arguments, time spent stressing over what to do with my time, and time spent wondering what I could be doing outside instead of what I could be doing on the inside. We still have plenty of options even while stuck at home. Playing with my child should be a delight, not a chore. Still having someone employed in our house should be a moment of gratefulness, not envy.
The first time we took our daughter outside was like watching a kid see the world for the first time. She wasn’t interested in other people or the sound of traffic. She played in the light. She stretched her legs, she chased a squirrel and she wanted to walk across the street on her own (definitely didn’t let her). Now we go for daily walks, if the weather holds, just up and down our block mindful of passersby. Nothing brings me more joy.
I hope that when times change we will remember what was important. Life was hectic, it involved not talking to each other except for evenings and weekends. We spent too much time on our devices with less quality face-to-face. And we always had our ability to move onto the next thing be our salvation, whether it was work or friends and even country.
I am a person that loves change, prepped and ready for it change, but this was on no one’s list of “must do’s “. But while circumstances have changed that doesn’t mean your purpose has to.
There are things I want to accomplish and get done. My business, my phd and my family don’t have to compete for my attention. They can all share in my life, always remembering that at the end, family should come first.
I’m not anyone’s mom, I’m her mom. I’m not anyone’s wife, I’m his wife. We’re not perfect, we’re sometimes not even very good, but we love fiercely with great passion and we genuinely like each other, not because we are family but because we do. We just have to remember to respect each other, keep from saying hurtful things and love with judgement- for all of our sakes.
Check out the Isolation Journal and Suleika’s story at www.suleikajaouad.com