OK, so now what? We are in the midst of the second lockdown due to Covid-19 in LA County. When I walk to Riviera Village in Redondo Beach for my evening dog walk there are no longer couples and friends sitting at the restaurant’s outside tables. What used to be a lively street where I could barely find a parking spot is now deserted. The restaurants where we used to have to wait over an hour to be seated are now quiet, there are only a few people standing outside looking at their phones, patiently waiting for their take-out orders. As I walk my dog down the empty street, visions of dates I had, meeting up with my girlfriends, and people watching in the sun come to mind. But it is as if I am seeing ghosts of a time past. Because the tables and chairs that were set up outside are either gone or covered with a tarp. Everything has stopped.
In the beginning of the stay at home order in mid-March I took the time to deep condition my hair, use cleansing face masks, get more sleep, and I even started cooking again. Being told to stay home felt like a relief from rushing to get to the office, and always being on the go. I used the time to read, take baths, and let the emotions from my recent divorce process in a calm environment. I felt I was using my time at home wisely. I was intentionally grateful every morning for the clear blue sky, and my home across the street from the beach. I felt blessed that if I had to stay home, that I had a beautiful environment. My place is light and bright, and has good energy. It is my home, my art studio, and the place where I have created peace for myself. With so many people losing their jobs, being in toxic relationships where now they had to spend 24/7 with that person, or being trapped in cities where they couldn’t get back home, I felt very fortunate.
But even given all that, 9 months is a long time to be told to stay home. It has been a tough year to navigate, and I am doing my best not to get sick and not to make anyone else sick.
Throughout this 9 months I have tried to establish a schedule for my day, so I feel some kind of normalcy. And the last couple of weeks I have started a new routine of walking my dog to the beach every morning before I log on to my computer for work. It has really helped my mindset to watch and listen to the waves first thing in the morning. There are always some brave surfers out in the ocean at 6:00AM, and I am always a little envious of them being in the midst of the salt water waves and most likely not thinking about the pandemic or much of anything except staying on their surfboard. Almost like a meditation.
After my work day, I head to a gym I joined that has outside equipment, and they have done a good job of revamping the facility to make it safe. I put on my BOSE headphones and listen to upbeat music, and sweat for an hour. This always makes me feel better and revived. Lately, I have been going to an infrared sauna for about 15 minutes after my workout. Again, they have made the facility very sterile and safe, and the infrared rays warm me inside and out, and make me feel lighter.
Then it is time for my dog walk, dinner, and I watch a little reality tv before I go to bed. My day is full. I feel good at the end of the day, and I have made a schedule that works, and feels healthy. But I get lonely sometimes. It is hard to be so isolated in a new city where I didn’t get the chance to establish many good friendships as we went into lockdown 4 months after I moved here.
But, it is my favorite time of year, so I am doing my best to listen to Christmas music, Christmas shop online, and I put up my Christmas tree and decorated it. This makes me feel happy, and takes my mind off the state of the world. I am not sure how much longer that we can all stay trapped in our homes.
None of us know how long this will last, or how bad it will get. Every time I watch the news there is another person with the virus, or another group of people that ignored the rules and they all got it. The hospitals in Los Angeles are near capacity, and I can say for the first time in 9 months, I am scared! I keep clearing my throat, and feeling my forehead, am I getting the virus too?
Since deleting my dating apps, and limiting my contact with people the last few weeks have been even more quiet for me. I realize that chatting with men on the dating apps was kind of a distraction for me, even if it was frustrating at times. But with not being able to meet up with anyone right now, it just seems like not a good use of my time.
So now what? I am starting to realize that now is the time to be grateful for the events of this year. At the beginning of 2020 I was so unsure of myself. I was newly divorced after a long marriage and I glad to be on my own, but I who was I? This year has given me the time and space to explore myself. It has given me real boundaries due to the virus, that maybe I wouldn’t have been strong enough to impose on my own. It has forced me to dig deep, and get in touch with my real feelings and desires. It has given me the gift of showing me that I am stronger and more resilient than I thought I was, and after this year I will carry that gift with me forever.