I admit it, the thought of social distancing appeals to me. I’m not very social to begin with. My idea of a perfect day is really being alone in my house with my dog and having the freedom to bang out a few chapters of my next novel or work on my graphic design projects. The thought of not seeing people for a few weeks (months?) really doesn’t cause me any anxiety or sadness. I know I’m probably in the minority with this, but I’m a true introvert, and being an only child prepared me well for times like these.
With that being said, I also know that at some point I’m likely to find myself stretched out on my couch binge watching some series or another. In fact, last summer I devoted weeks to the entire Boston Legal series and I loved every moment of that. In this current situation, though, the mere thought of engaging in slothful behavior causes me to feel a flutter of anxiety. That could be because last summer binge watching was a luxury that I chose while totally in control of my life and secure in the knowledge nothing big was looming outside my door.
Times are different now. Oh, how they’re different! There’s economic chaos on a Global scale. People are in real danger of hunger and homelessness. At best, we will feel some minor discomfort from this. At worst, we face loss, grief, and horrible sickness possibly of ourselves or our loved ones. Yeah, binge watching isn’t on my calendar today.
I rolled out of bed at 5 a.m., made myself tea, told my dog that this was our “new reality” – and turned on the news for about an hour. When I had taken all I could of the calamity that’s now our daily experience, I set about being productive. I cleaned my kitchen. I did two loads of laundry. I changed my sheets. I checked in at my office – via email – and did a few small projects that I had kept for this morning just so I could feel some sense of normalcy.
Then I sat down to write this post and after three different opening sentences realized that my need for productivity comes from a complete loss of control over my life. I’m not unhappy being here with the dog. I love having the flexibility to telecommute. I feel very fortunate that I’m not worried I’ll starve over the next month. But even I – with my love of solitude – feel anxious that I can’t control any part of this situation. All I can do is sit tight and count my blessings – and be productive in the hope that when this is over, I have done something to make my life – and those of others – a little less stressful.
Stay safe. Practice Social Distancing. Wash your hands. And do whatever you can today to help yourself or someone you care about feel a little more in control in these crazy times.