First and foremost, I want to say that I hope you’re reading this in good health and high spirits. Through all the chaos, I find the most anxiety in thinking about how my loved ones are mentally handling things. Please stay safe, healthy, and in the light! Virtual air kisses!
Like many of you, I’m very selective about the media and content I take time to ingest these days. There’s so much noise and so many different channels of communication; it’s all so overwhelming. But, this blog post is not about the stats or the depressing reality we’re all trying desperately to survive. I waited and decided thoughtfully to write something for a couple big reasons:
- This is unprecedented. I think it’s important to document a worldwide pandemic like this, something I have never seen in my lifetime. Years from now when we live on Mars and talk about the old days on Earth, I’ll likely need official references to convince people of what we’re going through right now. And, I’ll likely still be talking to my new planet friends about how dating in the old days was just as hard then as it is dating aliens now. I joke.
- Sharing my experience might resonate. As a single gal living alone in the most populous county in the state of California, without kids, and no dog (just to give you the full picture), I have a unique experience in quarantine. And, if my experience resonates with just one person, I’m happy to share. We’re all just looking for connection, and hope. And, I sincerely wish this article ignites both.
So with that said, my intention is to connect with you and inspire hope – not just in this temporary new normal of COVID-19 quarantine, but for all my single girls out there navigating a different (often choppy) body of water on a regular basis.
Feel free to skip over this part as it’s mostly for factual documentation (again, in 50 years on Mars, they’re going to read this and need background).
The worldwide pandemic brought on by the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person via droplets produced by cough or sneeze and may also be transmitted by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it then touching your mouth, nose, or possibly even eyes. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. COVID-19 forced the U.S. into a nationwide “safer at home” quarantine in March of 2020. The first case of COVID-19 in the United States was reported on January 21, 2020, according to the CDC. As I write this, there is currently no vaccine for the virus. Health organizations recommend personal vigilance in protecting against Coronavirus, like washing your hands often and for at least 20 seconds and using alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. You can find all this information and more at: http://www.cdc.gov/COVID19
It’s not all bad. But, it’s not all great either.
Because I live in Los Angeles County, I officially went into quarantine the week of 3/16/20, which if you’re doing the math means that I’ve been forced to stay home for about 18 days now. Gosh, when I look at it that way, it doesn’t seem so long. But, it sure does feel like FOREVER.
Everyone seems to be handling the quarantine differently. While we’re all collectively going through the same experience, we have different struggles and demons we face day-to-day. Parents are cooped up inside homeschooling and trying to work, high schoolers and college students will miss graduation ceremonies and celebrations, while older folks are scared to go to the market. It’s a trying time for all of us by and large.
For me, the hardest part of being in quarantine is missing my niece and nephews. My brother and his wife are doing a great job of FaceTiming with me and my parents separately – they’ve even figured out how to get us all on a group FaceTime chat. But, nothing is the same as hugging those little rug rats in person. Shedding a tear and grabbing a glass of wine now.
But, it’s not all bad. And, I implore everyone reading this now to take the next set of opinions lightly (but consider them seriously!).
Now is the time to build your dream schedule and live your best life. I realize that sounds a little odd considering our daily lives are challenged with the new normal and we’re forced to distance from family and friends, but hear me out. Right now you have a very unique opportunity to create a life of design, no distractions, and no obligations to throw you off course. You have to decide how you want to come out of quarantine and then lead with that intention.
Have I already used the word unprecedented? This is an UNPRECEDENTED time in history, but more importantly, in your life. Those of us who are single and living alone during the quarantine have no excuse not to come out of the solitude a better version of ourselves. If we’re not using this time to learn something new, improve our body and/or minds, or deepen relationships it will have been our own fault. And, I think that’s a harder pill to swallow than the thought of staying home for another month. Since the start of the quarantine, I’ve reignited my love for running and have clocked more miles in the last 3 weeks than ever before. I also got shin splints, which are a badge of honor, but also a very real step backwards. No worries (God I hate that phrase, but it works here), a quick trip on Amazon.com and a few days later I’ve got Dr. Scholl’s shock-absorbing inserts and I’m good to go again.
I’m taking my workouts very seriously and trying to build a routine that will last beyond the quarantine. That’s right we’re coming out of this, eventually! And, as I try to stay positive, I remind myself that this is all temporary. But, what will remain are the habits I have the luxury (and time) to create while I wait.
HOPE FOR SINGLES
Those of you in your 20s who are reading this, I apologize in advance. I can’t speak to your demographic without sounding like your old Auntie. This is because when I was in my 20s and single, I was having the best time of my life. Let me repeat that – it was the best.time.of.my.life! Times were different – and I hope that sounded like an old Auntie, because it was meant to! I’m only 38 years young, but dating a mere 10 years ago was a completely different world. Men and women respected the pre-defined goals of romantic interaction. There was very little influence from social media (Instagram was still in it’s infancy) and dating apps were not so popular or rampant. People met in bars and clubs and got married and had babies. Simple as pie.
Fast-forward to the dumpster fire that is dating as a 30-something in a world dominated by instant gratification. It’s a nightmare people! I can’t whole-heartedly determine if dating now is doomed because of social media or if dating when you’re older (and know better) is simply harder because we’re more of who we are and less willing to bend. But, I can say that it’s simply more complicated these days.
As if it didn’t already suck, dating in 2020 (as a 30-something) just got a whole lot uglier! How on earth are we supposed to meet people now? Let me tell you – the same way we did before! And, while I’m sort of scared to admit it, I’m meeting more men now (in quarantine) than I have in the last year. Yes, you read that right. I actually typed it. It’s now etched into history. I won’t go into detail, but saying hello to someone jogging by on the street, asking someone if they plan to BBQ the steak they’re picking from the meat section at the grocery, and hanging out in your apartment buildings common area is quite an effective way to conduct business. I’m not promoting breaking any government mandated social distancing guidelines or rules, but I am saying that anything is possible. Developments in this arena will be explored in a future blog post. LOL.
HOPE FOR ALL
I keep telling myself this is just temporary, which is what keeps me going. I know that we’re going to make it through this, but things won’t probably ever be the same. We definitely won’t take things for granted anymore…like the company of our friends and family. For instance, popping into a store to do a return (wow, never thought I’d miss standing in line at Nordstrom’s Rack with my online purchase in hand), or stopping to get gas and not be afraid of touching everything – although, that might still be the same! You get the point.
It’s only been 3 weeks and I’ve already learned so much about myself and made resolutions to be better when we’re out of this. I’m genuinely mad at myself now for ever flaking out on plans with friends (my BFF knows this struggle is real). I promise never to flake again, guys! In fact, I’m doubling down on my word…I promise to connect more with people I love. And, while we wait for what the future social distancing guidelines will look like post pandemic, my mind is made up. We have to do better and be better after all this.
I wish you all health and patience during this unusual and trying time. High-fives – I will never take another high-five for granted. That’s just occurred to me.
Stay safe friends.