You know what bugs me? People who remember things well.
I know, I’m just being an enormous jerk because, as you may have seen on my SnapChat or Instagram story yesterday, I have the worst memory of all time. Like, possibly the worst. I’m trying to be proactive by fixing it, and restudying some good old elementary school history and geography, though — including perfecting the map of the United States by not getting Arizona confused for Nebraska. Yes, that happened.
Anyway, part of being like this includes a very strange confusion about how long we’ve been doing this. I actually don’t remember what day I started staying inside, but I know by March 10 I didn’t go out to eat and was hesitant about being anywhere fun because I had a bad feeling about what was coming. This was a date friends were still saying that the media was freaking out about nothing, and that the Coronavirus was “less deadly than the flu.” It’s funny how there can be a narrative that starts, just because one person starts saying it, then more and more people pass it along until it seems to be the cold, hard truth.
Last night my anxiety spiked again. Not because I’m having a hard time personally being inside — I keep reminding myself this is just a season and to make the most of it — but more so because I’m feeling on edge for all of my loved ones. I hope they’re all doing okay and aren’t scared or having a hard time. Today I’m feeling a bit better, but am still on edge worrying about other people. I know from Facebook posts that a lot of people are having a hard time managing, but I also think social media is doing a great job reminding people that none of us are alone in all of this. We’re all going through so many of the same emotions and uncertainties, but it really is so freaking encouraging how uplifting everyone is being. We know that one day this will be a distant memory, and maybe if you’re like me you won’t forget the way you felt during this time, but you will forget just how many episodes of shows from Netflix you watched, how many Sour Patch Kids you shoveled in your mouth while anxiously scrolling through the news, and how many days exactly you were quarantined. This will be a very interesting story to tell the next generation, and in the meantime we’ll all just keep pushing forward.
Today is Sunday, but it feels like Saturday or Monday or Wednesday! Let’s face it — they all feel the same at this point.
Yesterday I decided I need to have a little more of a routine through all of this. I woke up at a reasonable hour today, and started my morning with some of the new assignments I have. I’m going to learn new skills in the kitchen a few times a week — two days ago I learned how to use the InstantPot, and tomorrow I’d like to learn how to make a quiche or other breakfast food involving spinach and eggs — and have a set workout routine that I must stick with. I decided to take up Pilates again, and found a good little YouTube video yesterday to begin. Something I really like about Pilates is that your workout just feels so dang good while you’re stretching. It’s composed of such tiny movements that Pilates work some muscles that you don’t even realize are there, and the next day you’re shocked with how sore some of your little muscles are.
Some things on my to do list this week are:
Finish cleaning out my closet, and find someone to donate all my clothing to.
Bake a healthy dessert that doesn’t taste healthy at all.
Find one new small business to support.
Spend 10 minutes/day refreshing my memory on some good, elementary US history.
Try a new food. This week I discovered that I do, in fact, like Caesar salads, despite refusing to try them for 29 years.
Call one friend or family member every day, just to catch up.
These are all super doable and will make some of the time spent indoors feel more productive. What are you doing to make your day feel worthwhile?
It’s hard to keep track of the days when every one is the same.
This is such a strange time in our lives. It’s kind of crazy to think that no matter what country people live in, we can relate to the fear and uncertainty of the exact same thing.
As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve felt a surprising amount of calmness throughout all of this. I am being incredibly careful and not going out or anything, but I also am not living in constant fear or anxiety. I think a big part of this comes from my time at home with POTS. I now have the experience to know that even with incredibly drastic changes that are completely out of your control, you can still have joy in your life, and perhaps just as important, things can and will get better. Staying at home when I have the physical capability to go out is new, but I know what it’s like to lose your functioning body and be stuck on a couch and still feel happy and make really great memories from it. Surely we can still have joy in days at home with loved ones still — or if you are quarantined by yourself, with people from afar. Thank God for technology.
A lot of this Coronavirus quarantine feels kind of like getting sick suddenly with a chronic illness. This time, though, we can all relate in one way or another. We are lucky to have each other, and all the help and support I’ve seen online has been heartwarming to say the very least. I love that people are staying inside despite being so incredibly bored, and that we’re looking to support small businesses in this time (As a side note, please message me any and all businesses that need some support — at the very least I’d love to follow on social, but if it’s a product I’d use I want to start buying from people directly, if possible!).
Something that I’ve learned with anxiety and having a chronic illness is that periods of time seem to have lots of different chapters that make up your life, but none of them last forever. This is really good for the tough chapters, and sometimes sad when the amazing ones come to an end. Nothing in life lasts forever, though, and I think we need to remember this as we keep moving forward the next few weeks and months. I know that days will sometimes drag on and uncertainty can be daunting, but one day this will all be a distant memory and we’ll remember the happier things more than the things that were hard. We’ll remember playing Nintendo Switch with our families, eating at home every night in front of the television, relating to a million of the memes that are online, and having walks around the neighborhood be our daily outings. We’ll all probably also have difficult stories to remind us of harder times too, but hopefully something good will come out of those, too.
I guess the only point I have in writing this is that if you’re having a hard time with everything right now, keep pushing through. This is a temporary time in the grand scheme of things, and I know we’re going to come out of it with new empathy and understanding for others. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. We are all trying to learn how to fight this in whatever ways we can, and want to be able to lean on each other. Many of us are looking for ways to help, but may just not know how.
Have a great Saturday! I’m incredibly sleepy and a bit loopy from lack of exercise. I didn’t particularly feel like writing at all today, but am trying to as often as I can. Going to find some sort of yoga class to take online in the basement now!
I’m not really sure what day we’re on now of this quarantine, but I started a few days ahead of many of my peers. I did my big apocalyptic shopping trip (read: a generous week’s worth of food) a couple of days before grocery stores began buzzing, and bought one multi-pack of Lysol wipes from Costco. I was actually excited to do a blog post on a big Trader Joe’s shopping trip a few weeks before, but looking at those pictures just makes me sad now. I love TJ’s dearly, but my only complaint is a lack of delivery service during these quarantimes.
Here’s one weird pro to all of this, though: I learned how to spell “quarantine.” There are two “a’s,” and one “e.” I don’t know why I kept spelling it with 2 “e’s,” but I did. I hate seeing spelling mistakes in articles, but have been surprised at all of the errors that I keep seeing in things I am reading on very reputable news sites. I guess all of this staying inside is getting to everyone! I’ve felt fairly prepared for it, though.
I’m enjoying cooking a lot right now. Granted, I don’t always have all of the ingredients necessary for a recipe, but it hasn’t resorted to a Chopped situation yet, but the boredom might create this for me. In fact, I’ll gather some ingredients later and take a poll on my Instagram to choose some items for this task. I feel like hot sauce definitely has to be one of the items. I have Rice Krispies, marshmallows, sesame oil, and lots of chocolate. I’ll have to brainstorm to see what weird items people can pair together for me.
Other than yesterday, my anxiety has been shockingly kept at bay. Sure, I’d like to go out, but I’m also lucky enough to have a lot of blessings at home, so I am trying to keep that perspective as long as I possibly can. I know there are people who are sick and in hospitals, and there are nurses and doctors who are being overworked and underappreciated. For all of these people, I am trying to be thankful.
Anyway, I have some work I need to do, but am hoping to write more for fun this weekend. Stay healthy and safe. ❤
Hello, anxiety! I’m surprised you haven’t been lurking around this entire week.
I’ve had some moments in these quarantined times, but been surprisingly calm throughout. I may not look calm with wiping down furniture and Lysoling the light switches and door knobs at night, but I haven’t had the pit in my stomach and tightness in my chest that manifests on even just a normal Tuesday sometimes. I’ve just been taking necessary precautions to stay healthy if possible, and trying to take everything day by day.
Last night I had my first mini panic as I was trying to fall asleep. This morning I woke up with a pit too. Not because I didn’t take things seriously before, but because I’m just feeling a little scared today. I thought a little more about the future, rather than the present, and feel frustrated with the way so many people are still handling things. I don’t understand why we didn’t do a mandatory shutdown a lot sooner, and am still wondering when everything will actually be forced to shut down. I see pictures of idiots in Florida all going to the beach, and people flocking to all the same areas. I hear about teenagers thinking it’s funny to make a video coughing on produce in the stores, and am thinking about all of the innocent nurses and doctors who are being exposed because of other people’s actions. I’m sick of seeing posts in groups that say, “You gotta live a little,” accompanied by pictures of crowded walkways and gatherings. These posts get shamed, but I don’t think the OP understands that those of us who are quarantining ourselves are not doing it because we don’t want to have lives or are shaking in our boots — we’re doing it because it is the easiest, most obviously clear way to flatten the curve and make life easier on every single human who is out fighting this right now. If we can stop the Coronavirus spread, we will have time to go out and live our lives more normally, much faster. It will still require so much patience and cooperation, but one day we’ll be able to go out and see our friends and family again.
My anxiety is usually brought upon by things I cannot control, and other people often fall in this category. This time, strangers are causing the restlessness in my chest. I think it will probably ebb and flow over the course of the next several months, but I’m going to do some deep breathing and be grateful for what I have today. I didn’t have much of a purpose to this post, other than just documenting feelings each day to see how they change. My journal is getting a little break, and in the meantime I’ll keep this updated.
I kind of think the definition of “privilege” is worrying about what we can do to be entertained while being forced to stay inside. Trust me, I know it sucks being cooped up inside when there’s a great big world outside to explore, but it will not kill you to stay inside for a few days, weeks, or however long it takes to get a hold of this situation. There are people who are sick, dying, and in a lot of pain right now. There are people who are losing their jobs and livelihood. If you have a roof over your head, food to eat, and are healthy, you are blessed.
I can offer you a little personal experience about being stuck at home for a long period of time. Six years ago when I got sick with POTS I did not go out at all unless it was to a doctor’s appointment or my daily trip to the gym for my rehab. I tried going on small errands, but always found myself lying on the cold tile floor as I propped my feet in the air to pump blood back to my brain. Having the room spin in circles around me while I frantically tried to stay standing or avoid fainting in front of strangers was not fun, so those trips to the grocery store were cut real short.
I spent well over a year in really bad shape and on the severe spectrum of POTS. Research POTS a little and you’ll find that POTS patients’ quality of life is “comparable to patients on dialysis for kidney failure.” Before all of this I was active and played just about every sport, had a very busy social life, and was working hard to begin climbing the ladder in the journalism world. I hated sleeping in, and could rarely be found just sitting around at home. In 2013, my world flipped upside down and I physically could not do anything because I always felt awful. I very slowly got better and better, and now have added many more normal things back into my routine. I still am not “normal,” but am close enough that I am so happy and grateful for all of the wonderful freedoms I do have.
So, what does any of this have to do with the Coronavirus pandemic?
A lot, actually. I know what it’s like to be stuck at home for a long period of time, but the only difference is that now 1) I do not feel insanely sick literally all the time, and 2) we are all in this together. I remember crying when I looked at my Facebook feed because everyone was out in the world pursuing their dreams, and all I could do was monitor how my health was and celebrate the tiny joys in life. Nobody my age could relate to what I was going through, and I couldn’t participate in anything a normal 22 year old would enjoy. I watched friends go out dancing, get promoted at their jobs, and support themselves like a normal twentysomething. I wanted so badly to be able to function normally and be able to take care of myself the way they all were.
Now, we are all stuck inside, and I feel like you can relate to my 22 year old self in a way. I know you’re not asking for advice, but I’m going to share some of the things that helped me be joyful throughout every stage in my life — even when I couldn’t go out or really “do” anything.
The first piece of advice I have is to surround yourself with loved ones. Not physically this time, though — emotionally. We need to take this “social distancing” stuff seriously. A big reason for this is so that hospitals are able to treat every single person who comes to them — whether or not it’s Coronavirus-related. Italy is moving towards 1,000 deaths/day. We absolutely do not want to get to that point, and by staying home we are helping to flatten the curve so that hospitals can treat people who need help. A good option for keeping in touch with people is FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, or even an old fashioned phone call. The biggest thing I enjoyed when I was home for such a long time was just sitting on the couch and visiting with friends and family. That will look different now, as I am staying home and not seeing anyone new until we have gotten everything under control, but I still look forward to chatting with my friends and family every single day I am stuck at home. Experts are now recommending only interacting with the people you have been at home with, so if you’re lucky enough to have someone at home with you, cherish the time you have with them. If not, utilize technology to the best of your ability to have as much — or as little — company as you’d like. Luckily it is not hard to find someone to talk to during this quarantine.
Second, find something little to look forward to every day. During my POTS recovery time, my favorite thing was watching MasterChef and MasterChef Junior with my family. I loved learning more about cooking and having a steady show to watch. Now that I can stand up again, I love to cook and use some of the techniques I learned from the show in my kitchen. I actually have really fond memories from every stage of my illness, whether or not I could actually get out of the house and do anything.
Third, remember that this is temporary. This is not a luxury I had six years ago. I had some doctors speculate that I might grow out of POTS, and others who told me to get used to my new life. It turns out, there was a little truth to each of those perspectives, but it is best to remain positive and know that things can and will get better. One day all of this isolation will be a weird story to tell, and we will all be able to relate to the giant quarantine. In the meantime, finding little things to make you happy is important. There are lists all over the place of ideas of things to do indoors, and we are smart enough to get creative about this. We also have so much technology that being stuck at home is easier now than it would have been a decade ago. The worst thing to do is always self-pitying or constantly complaining about things we can’t control. We are lucky to be alive and healthy, and have access to so much, even from our living room couches.
The reason I keep talking about POTS is also that being at home with a chronic illness is something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone. I don’t think it’s easy for a healthy person who hasn’t ever had complications to realize just how difficult it is to adjust to having a dysfunctional body. I appreciate the fact that this quarantine hasn’t begun to drive me insane because of my past experience, but I wish everyone else could feel this sense of gratefulness too. All I can do to help is say it will get easier, and any of us who aren’t currently sick can really appreciate the fact that we still feel well while being stuck at home.
I know I ranted a ton in this, but I decided my blogging right now just needs to be a little journal of this time spent at home. Not only does it give me another activity, but it will also be interesting to read back on years from now. I encourage all of you to journal at this time so we don’t ever forget what it was like all being in the same boat during the 2020 quarantine.
The past week has been really weird. I never could have imagined this would be something the world would be facing, but I did take precautions a bit earlier than most, just because of the circumstances in our home.
I didn’t know what to expect, but I also thought I would be able to at least figure something special out for Robert’s birthday. What I wanted to get him has been sold out in stores for forever. I am on a waiting list, but it doesn’t feel super promising that we’ll get it any time soon. His backup present was a weekend getaway. If you had told me a week ago that we wouldn’t be able to do this sometime in March, I would have been shocked. Plan C was a round of golf somewhere fun, but that’s as laughable as Plan B now. I want to make today as special as possible, so we’ll see how it goes with everything still being shut down. First, though, I want to wish him a very happy birthday on here, and share 29 of my favorite pictures.
1. This was our first photo together and will always be one of my favorites.
2. This was one of our first pictures together. We took it before going to a New Year’s Eve party later that evening. Before we left we played a ton of Super Smash Brothers, where I whooped Robert with my Wario motorcycle moves.
(Ok, in light of it being his birthday today I will tell the truth and say he probably whooped my butt, haha).
3. Robert being cute before we said goodbye for his first deployment.
4. Another picture of him before leaving. I was crying enough that I couldn’t see to take proper pictures, but obviously wanted to make sure I got as many of him as possible to get me through the year without him.
5. Here is one with me in it too. I really couldn’t stop crying at the airport, but we had a heck of a 24 hours before he left.
6. We may look different than the previous few pre-deployment pictures, but that’s because we did get an extra 12 hours to see each other before Robert left. That meant everything to me.
7. I made Tom Brady a video to help greet Robert at the airport. It would have been very interesting to see whether Robert was more excited to see him or me after being away for 10 months. I was a little nervous about this test for our relationship (Tom Brady is a big deal in our house), but sadly we didn’t get to find out who he would be more excited to see, as Brady had to get ready for playoffs.
8. This is still one of the happiest days for both of us. I can’t describe how giddy I was to see him.
9. Such a handsome picture meeting the governor.
10. We took a day to go to DC for a date. I don’t even remember much about what we did, but we walked around and saw the monuments on a beautiful spring day. We cut the date short to go home and take care of Jax, but it was such a great date.
11. This was another one of my favorite dates. We did a several course meal during restaurant week to celebrate Robert buying his first home! I feel blessed to have moved in to my favorite cozy home with him now.
12. Our first military ball together! Now we’ve been to a bunch, but the first was definitely a lot of fun.
13. Celebrating my friends Kalika and Ben in Charlottesville was such a fun time. This was one of our first weddings together, and I have loved celebrating every one of our friends together since.
14. Awww, this was our first time meeting Jax! Such a special day, and he has been an enormous part of our lives ever since.
15. This was my first ever Red Sox game! I loved having Robert explain every single thing about baseball to me, and actually had a blast at the game. I was hoping this would be a very baseball-filled spring, but we shall see what happens.
16. Game nights are one of our favorite things to do together. I have so many fond memories from each and every one we’ve gone to or hosted together.
17. According to Instagram, this was taken celebrating our second anniversary. I remember it so perfectly and had the best time going to a wine bar for dinner and dessert. I just felt like we had been together so long by this point, so I was a little surprised looking back that it was only our second year together! This is one of my favorite places we’ve gone to together. Our dates just get better and better with time. I always think of Brad Paisley’s song, “It Did” when I think about the life we are building together.
18. This was our trip to Charlottesville soon after we got engaged. I want to do another trip like this soon! Was hoping it could be a backup to a birthday weekend plan, but alas……
19. These pictures crack me up because of the story behind them. A few years ago I gave Robert a heart shaped pizza right before Valentine’s Day. Shockingly enough the Domino’s I ordered from hadn’t done anything like this, so they laughed at my request, but did it anyway. The next day, Robert brought me a heart shaped biscuit from Popeyes. He told me that since I gave him the pizza the day before, he asked the people at the fast food restaurant to do this for me. I thought it was so freaking cute picturing him asking for something so silly. I was so happy about it that I posted about it on Instagram, only to find out from him later that he was joking! I love his sense of humor and he always makes me laugh — even when something sweet turns into a joke.
20. Ahhhh I got so excited seeing our pictures from the Brad Paisley concert!! This was one of my best and most memorable nights ever. I want to go to another one next time he’s on tour.
21. We took this the day we picked up our marriage certificate
22. And these were from our wedding!
23. We had the best time on our honeymoon in Aruba.
24. Where we also went on the most fun excursion of all time.
25. We joked around about looking for the Rockefeller Christmas tree in New York
26. Then we went on another trip that was just as great as our honeymoon to St. Lucia!
27. We celebrated our first year of marriage and had the BEST fish and chips of all time.
28. Saw Tom Brady and the Patriots play against the Redskins!
29. And finally, we had the funniest night of giving out Halloween candy while Jax freaked out, wondering why we had so many visitors over such a short span of time.