A Year of Living Differently

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year since my little world shut down due to Covid. At this time last year, I was adjusting to working at home with my clunky Windows computer at my dining room table. I loved being in an office with the hustle and bustle of meetings and conversations in the hallway. Working from home featured endless back-to-back Zoom meetings, a close proximity to food that I didn’t need to eat, an uncomfortable dining room chair and curious animals in need of my attention all day. It was about this time that I adopted a kitten. Life looked very different but would evolve into even more strangeness before it was all over.

I’ve been surprised that I haven’t wanted to write much. I expected this extra time would give me more time and energy to write. But I’ve discovered that my motivation for blogging is connecting with others. I liked the motivation it gave me to get out to coffee shops and talk to people about local history. I thrive on the comments and interactions I get with readers on their reactions to my writing. I’ve been journaling a lot for my own sanity, but with all of the anger in the internet universe and the overall disconnection, I’ve been hesitant to put myself out there.

I have one friend who literally chased me down to go for a walk in two feet of snow and 20-degree weather just to get a break from her kids and husband. Others have been eager to talk via video-chat on a more regular basis than in the past. Many of us have bundled up in cold weather gear for walks on winter days that previously would inspire visits with hot chocolate and a fire. Some of my friends have continued to work and just need a damn break. We’ve all become cognizant of the pros of our lifestyles and felt the pain and inconvenience of its cons. For me, it’s been a mix of enjoying solitude and nature and being incredibly lonely. I’ve also had the pleasure of deepening some relationships with old friends who have had more time to chat on a regular basis. Oddly enough, I’ve made new friends in upstate New York because of a Soul Care group I attend. It’s been a pleasant surprise.

About this time every year I’m ready to bolt out of the house and do something. Winter in Michigan is enjoyable for me until about the end of February. Unfortunately, it doesn’t usually warm up until May so I have a bit of a wait. This year I’ve felt it keenly since I didn’t even have the relief valve of winter festivals and work. Michigan is still a hot spot for Covid, and I’ve only had my first shot of the Moderna vaccine. I’m cautious but hopeful for a more open life soon. I am active in a few interview processes for jobs that seem likely to pan out. There seems to be a path out, and I’m eager to see where it leads. If none of them lead to a job offer, I’ll enjoy another leisurely Michigan summer. Either option seems attractive at the moment.

Right now I’m busy taking some online courses for PDUs to renew my Project Management Professional certificate. I’m also taking a popular Yale course on building a sense of well-being. I really like it. It’s providing some great tips on feeling happier in the life you have. At this point I need a shot in the arm on that as well. It’s easy to get discouraged spending so much time in my own head and in this small house. The kitten and my older cat don’t get along very well, and sometimes I feel like I don’t like them all that much either. It passes, but too much togetherness is just too much togetherness.

A walk I took at Notre Dame recently with my friend Claudia.

I didn’t do too much over the pandemic, but I definitely feel like I’ve had a great rest and am ready to get back to work. I was pretty burnt out when I left Whirlpool in June, and I’ve spent some time figuring out what I liked and what I don’t like. I’ve been given the opportunity to be discerning about what I do next, and I’ve said no to several different opportunities. It’s felt empowering to choose, and I’m happy to report that I have skills that seem to be needed right now. I also got to catch up on all the TV I missed over the last two decades when I didn’t own a television. My basement looks a lot better and my diet has improved dramatically. I wish I could say my sleep has improved but apparently I’m wired to be up at 5 AM. I guess that will never change.

It’s good to write again. I hope that whatever situation you faced during the pandemic has had great gifts and easy lessons. This will end. I don’t know that the new normal will resemble the old normal a great deal, but I know that there will be good and not so good that will come of it. There will be loss, and there will be gain. One day we’ll look back as if all of this was a dream. “Can you believe we stayed home for a whole year during the pandemic of 2020?”, we’ll say to our friends. It’s hard to believe, but we did it. There is a new day coming. We just have to be a bit more patient.

6 Comments on “A Year of Living Differently

  1. I enjoy reading your posts. And I agree about the strangeness of this past year. You bring me hope, with all the wisdom and optimism I sense on your posts. Thank you.

  2. Hi, Sharon. I don’t know why Facebook doesn’t alert me to your posts anymore, but I do get these emails occasionally. This is very well written. You make this old English teacher proud. I know the pandemic has been extra hard on those who live alone, and I feel for you. It’s been hard enough for those of us with at least one other person in the house. But safety is the most important thing – and remembering this, too, shall pass one day. I had not realized you were not at Whirlpool anymore. Are you working remotely somewhere else? Take care and stay safe.

    • No new job yet. I was able to get a nice package when the Covid layoffs came. Just looking for the next thing now. Thanks for reading!

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