Social Distancing Diaries: Vol. 10

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Happy Memorial Day weekend! It’s a weird disconnect for me that a month has passed since I last had a day off…how does time pass so quickly?

Weekend plans in the before time would have included going to a wedding, but unfortunately that is not happening any longer because of coronavirus. My first thoughts on what to do with the long weekend are to spend some time outdoors, but I guess in this case would just mean sitting at a safe distance away from people at a park.

This week I’ve been struggling with the fact that I haven’t done anything in 10 weeks. I haven’t exercised, learned a new language, or improved my life in any significant way. Logically I understand that we are in a pandemic and just surviving is enough, but there’s a small nagging at the back of my mind that is telling me I need to do something MORE. The “free time” not spent working is so unprecedented that I need to spend all of it learning new skills. And yet, I’m still working, I make meals, I wash dishes (sometimes), I’m writing my little blog posts, I’m writing in a journal. I’m keeping up with basic life tasks. But when I look back on the time, I see that every day I go to work and then binge a tv show. I am not reading, which is my favorite past time. I can’t even manage to do things that I like doing, and that makes me feel guilty for not even using my free time for something fun. It’s a ridiculous cycle to be under!

Meanwhile, Josh has been productive with his time and he’s done a course on web development and started building three separate websites for his friends. And he still feels like there could be more. I asked him to write a bit for the blog this week to show a contrast in how we’re both feeling as the time goes on at home. In his own words:

Hi Everybody reading! It’s Josh, Heather’s fiancé. Today she thought it would be good for me to give my perspective on how I’ve been dealing with quarantine. If you have been reading along you probably know that I was one of the 40 million who lost their job to the shutdown of businesses. As somebody who has always been proud of the fact that I could provide for myself, this quarantine really has made me question how I would proceed to do so. Restaurant work is not easy money by any sense of the word (working off hours, having to spend days not seeing friends and loved ones outside of the hellos and goodbyes, and the sometimes soul crushing abuse from patrons), but it was definitely good money while it lasted. In saying that, losing the job felt almost inconsequential and slightly refreshing to me. I have all the time in the world available to work on passion projects, learn new skills, and maybe even work out. With that being said, I have focused most of my time thinking about a new career. 

Now switching your career typically means networking, learning new skills and, most importantly, the many unknowns of job searching. I have felt rudderless in this pursuit for the most part because how do you do all of these things during a pandemic? Also, having not had a job outside of a restaurant for almost 8 years, how do you prove yourself in a career you only just decided to look into only two months ago? This has been what has plagued my sleep, my days and worst, my appetite. I threw myself into learning Front End Web Development as a way to prove to myself that I can find a skill that can be monetized in or outside of a pandemic. I have worked through a bootcamp of videos and have even reached out to past coworkers and friends to see if I could find projects to work on to practice. While doing so seems productive, it also seems more or less fruitless without the other parts needed to build this career and more importantly the connections needed to find work while so many are jobless. Am I pressuring myself too much to see results this quickly? Most likely, but the fear and anxiety of having to return to the restaurant industry has pushed me to deal with many life changing decisions I feel I was putting off before the quarantine started on a drastically condensed schedule. 

As somebody who deals with anxiety and depression outside of a pandemic, the mental toll I have felt to make this time productive weighs deeply on my daily decisions. Do I work through lunch to figure out this wonky bit of code that has kept me up the last three nights? Do I give myself time to rest or push through into the night trying to perfect the layout of a DnD campaign website that I can use to impress a new employer? What if I just slept through this whole pandemic? There are so many things people are dealing with right now and the triviality of many of these questions make it almost unbearable trying to solve them when there are more essential jobs necessary right now (sewing PPE, building ventilators, etc.). The feeling that my pursuits will be insignificant comes and goes daily, but I do see that I am making progress. Maybe I just need to take it one step at a time until we get out of this pandemic, whether I have to return to waiting tables or not, only time will tell, but knowing I have some new skills ready to be applied when we are able to leave our houses again should at the very least give me some sense of accomplishment.”

Some joys I found this week:

1. New masks from Reformation arrived. They are plain white, which I was not expecting. Other orders I saw online had patterned fabric. Maybe we’ll decorate these with tie-dye. This bundle of 5 was the most affordable option I saw online (5 for $25), but you don’t know the pattern until it arrives. The material is pretty thin so continue to practice social distancing and wash them after each use!

2. Started binging Avatar: The Last Airbender now that it’s on Netflix. I understand all the references now! Also what an emotional journey!!! “Tales of Ba Sing Se” is the best episode of television you will ever watch.

3. Cha cha real smooth haha

4. Josh’s sourdough starter named Rebecca.

5. This fun jumpsuit to kickstart summer! I’m wearing an old ModCloth jumpsuit in my Instagram post today and this has a similar silhouette. Also the Memorial Day Sale is happening with code ‘HOTDOG’ for 40% sale prices!!

Click here to see previous entries.

Stay safe and STAY HOME! ♥ Be kind to yourself.

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