Have these past three months rocked our world or what? I went from being hopeful about being home all the time because I’d be productive AF to moments of wondering what I’m literally even doing with my life at the age of 29. I’ve had days of pure mental exhaustion and days where I feel inspired to get things on track. It’s been quite an emotional rollercoaster.
I invite you to look back at my first COVID-19 fueled trip to Target with me. This is right around the time when the whole quarantine situation had really taken off. Bluntly put: it freaked me TF out.
This trip was the first time I’d been out to get groceries since the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 had ensued. Ben and I lined up at Target, six feet apart from the people in front of us. Masks on our faces, we stood outside of the store to wait for carts to be wiped down and distributed to guests as they entered. It felt like a scene straight out of a movie about an apocalyptic virus.
I did not want to be the leading actress in this one.
My anxiety was completely set off from that point on. I immediately regretted even leaving the house. I knew things in the world were shifting, but this was the first time I was truly seeing it for myself firsthand and outside of a screen.
The mask around my face (though completely necessary) made me feel as if I was suffocating. This wasn’t the grocery shopping experience I knew. Why was everyone suddenly a questionable enemy to my health? Was that person carrying the virus without knowing? I felt as though I was in my own personal minefield. Any wrong turn, any wrong step, and I could come too close to another unknowingly diseased human. All I kept telling Ben was that I wanted to get what we needed and get back home.
That was my last grocery trip for the duration of our quarantine. Ben went to the store every few weeks for us. We tried to stock up (strategically) on groceries we’d actually eat because we wanted to make our trips to the grocery store less frequent. I was still nervous about Ben going, but we both knew it’d be better for only one of us to go if even for my own sanity.
As the weeks wore on some days were easier than others. I’d wake up some mornings ready to take on the day to be as productive as possible. Other days I was so mentally paralyzed by how many things COULD get done that I didn’t know where to start. Having too much free time on my hands was almost too much to handle. On those days I’d surrender and choose to binge a Netflix show instead.
During our quarantine, the days that helped most were the ones that Ben and I got outside. Whether it was for bike rides or days where we hung by the pool – it didn’t matter the activity. Even our routine walks with Nash were another fresh air escape to look forward to. Driveway drinks with nearby neighbors were nice for some outdoor spaced out socialization.
It’s now present day and things are getting easier. I guess the new normal has set in a bit. We have a collection of masks that Ben’s mom made for us. I’ve worn them to the grocery store without getting completely worked up. At this point I even have a *favorite* one that I like to wear. I keep my distance from strangers I don’t know and try to be efficient with items I’m grabbing or shopping for. The focus is still to get in, get what we need, and get out.
We’re finally back to (safely) seeing close friends and close family (distant driveway visits with my grandparents and in house visits with others). I’m a social person, but this quarantine experience really taught me that I depend on human interaction way more than I thought I did. Through the duration I just assumed I’d be fine to do the things I normally do – hang out with Ben and Nash, exercise, blog, etc. My friends would be there when this whole thing was over and we could video chat until whenever “over” was.
Seeing faces through FaceTime and Zoom is a fantastic alternative, but it’s nowhere near the same.
It’s clear that this new normal is going to take some getting used to. Florida’s number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise daily and it’s truly scary. I miss being able to hug my grandparents. A night out at a bar dancing with friends is an unheard of activity these days. Every action or invite to something comes with a second thought of: is it worth the risk?
I’m still missing what once was like I’m sure we all are. Ben and I went out to eat at bartaco a few weeks ago. It was the first time in months that we had eaten a meal out on a patio that wasn’t ours. Though it was nice to get out of the house and try to find some shield of normalcy, it’s obviously not the same. That fact has nothing to do with the food or service (which were both fantastic btw). It’s the atmospheric shift that you can’t deny because we’re all living in it.
If the post leaves you with anything, I hope it’s this: if you’re struggling, just know that I am too. Adapting to this big of a change is hard, but here’s the thing – we can only take the steps that we’re willing to in order to beat this thing. Order a cute mask from Etsy and wear it, or heck get crafty and make your own. Wash your hands and buy those cute mini hand sanitizers from Bath & Body Works. Take them EVERYWHERE with you. Be distant and safe – see close friends or family if you need to for your own sanity.
Do what you need to do for you. Stay safe. Be smart about your health and hygiene. And WEAR. YOUR. MASK.