Before I jump into sharing about approaches to persevering through a pandemic, I recognize that not everyone is living with the same conveniences. I acknowledge that this pandemic brings various levels of struggle for each of you. I am also aware that we do not have equitable access to necessary resources. This is something I do not want to appear insensitive about. For those who may feel the need or desire, I am here to listen if you need someone to turn to, stranger or not. Above anything else, I hope that you, my dear reader, will find relief however or wherever that may be for you if it is not in this post.
Shortly after the state of emergency was declared in Washington, DC on March 11th, Maya and I quickly adapted. We switched to a flexible routine and spoke about being intentional in going about daily activities differently but in an optimistic manner. Due to our personal circumstances, we mutually agreed this time serves us a chance to enjoy one another in ways we otherwise wouldn’t. Since meeting Maya, we’ve been on the go. It started to become an excuse for people to tease us with, “Where in the world will you be this weekend?” Our answer almost was never “In Washington, DC” where we currently reside. It was an exciting whirlwind of a schedule. However, just like most of the world, that came to a halt approximately 6 weeks ago. What would have been one of our busiest, fullest years yet has slipped into an eerie series of silent, slow days. Since the middle of March, Maya and I began strolling surrounding neighborhoods nearly every evening before dinner. This daily walk has become a moment to look forward to. These walks make me think about when my parents were both 17-year-olds, dating one another. Their dates were their walks. Those walks became their eventual foundation of valued time spent alone together. To this day, my mom speaks fondly of those times with my father. I’ve learned on these walks that you may find yourselves completely enthralled in one another’s existence.
In addition to our evening strolls, our flexible routine includes physical wellness activities. Daily, either during the lunch hour or after work, we do a 15-20 minute exercise with no equipment, guided by videos on YouTube. From time to time, we do meditation for 5 to 10 minutes, taking turns determining which position to be present in. We added the element of skin contact so to feel one another’s pulses and breathing. There is a soothing sense of intimacy felt when we do this. Perhaps because it feels innocent and takes part in our primary focus. We pay attention as we listen to calming wordless music in the background. About once a week we enjoy foot baths after dinner. We use epsom salt, mixing this in tub filled water that was simmering on the stove just moments earlier. After soaking our feet, we put a towel on our thighs. We place one another’s feet on top of the towel for a massage, using foot scrub. These activities prove to remedy my alternate state of being which would be to go stir-crazy.
With a willingness to do things differently, Maya and I enjoy several ongoing projects. This pandemic grants us a chance to commit to projects that may consume a good bit of personal time. Perhaps you may find some enjoyment in some of what we do or have done.
- Craft projects: (1) Puzzle making; (2) Cross-stitching; (3) Paint by numbers – I ordered one that customizes a personal photo to paint for a dear friend. Yes, custom!
- Play games: We typically play Bananagrams and Phase 10. We’ve also been meeting with two other friends weekly on Zoom to play Hearts, Rummy 500, and Cards Against Humanity. We played jackbox.tv a few times with larger friend groups as well.
- “Mini Book Club“: We either buy or borrow the same book from a library and read chapter-to-chapter together. This is a continuation of what we already have been doing on a regular basis. Maya and I just finished a Paula Hawkins mystery novel.
- Cook new recipes: Two of our favorite dishes we’ve tried so far and recommend are French Onion Soup and Hawaiian Chicken Skewers. With more time on our hands, we can spend more time in the kitchen.
- Develop a new skill: A self-project I’ve taken on is developing my German so to catch up to the bilingualism that goes on at my mother’s home – all my siblings are fluent except I! Consider trying out Duolingo. It is interactive and a good start. You can take a placement test if you have a basic foundation already in a secondary language.
- Create a comedic video: The other night, Maya and I had a little too much fun trying out a comedic video. In the video; we are communicating in sign language but we inserted manual captions. If you like it, stay tuned by subscribing to my channel. We created another installment which I am currently captioning.
Apart from all the physical wellness and ongoing projects, there are two experiences I have especially appreciated. These experiences are what they are because of the pandemic. I call one of them “Pillow Talk”. With no interruptions or obligations, there are mornings when Maya and I indulge ourselves with sleeping in and talking into the late morning. On the weekend, with no schedule ahead of us, we feel exceptionally relaxed. With no plans to see others, we ignore time and rest in one another’s presence, exchanging thoughts. With no awakening of the vibrating alarm clock, we roll over and scoot closer to the other, snuggling a bit longer.
The other experience I’ve felt grateful for is what I call “Porch Life”. Sitting out on the porch is calming as moments pass by. The commotion in the city is unusually quiet and the summer mosquitos haven’t yet arrived so I enjoy sitting out there in a bowl chair. I’m either lost in a good read and a delectable glass of wine; listening to my brother’s band, The Builders Guild, perform virtually on Easter Sunday; or attempting to cut Maya’s hair for the first time with paper scissors! Incase you’re wondering, it turned out pretty good for a first-time hairdresser.
What are some things you have been spending time doing?
The COVID-19 global pandemic is one that we will all remember. Let’s power on past this. May the the force of resilience be with you.
Like my mother says nowadays:
“Be well, stay well.”