Quarantine in 2020

For the last month or so, I have been like most Americans and staying home, quarantining while our nation tries to get a better handle on this COVID-19 outbreak.

This goes against what I normally do during a crisis. Actually, I’ve never had a crisis like this. When we’ve had wars, it has always been over there, and as a nation, we send folks, usually our young, to fight while I get to stay home and really see little change in my daily life.

Oh, gas prices might go up a little, but nothing that really affects me.

But this, this has affected everything I see as normal. Restaurants closed, hair salons closed, schools closed, all sports both pro and college closed (No college basketball tournaments, no Triple Crown, and, gasp, no Masters.), all parks are closed, newscasts are done at the newscasters’ homes, and (a most cruel blow) bowling alleys are closed.

When I did go out, it was with a lot of anxiety.  Should I wear a mask? Am I giving enough room to the people around me? Should I touch the door handle? Do I have enough hand sanitizer in my truck?

With hospitals not allowing family and friends to visit, what would happen to my non-verbal, autistic son if he had to be admitted? Would the temperature spike cause a seizure? Should/could I risk it?

For several weeks, we sat around inside our homes, really in shock as we watched all the ramifications peoples decisions were having, how everyone were trying to cope. We stayed glued to the TV watching way too many presidential task force meetings. (I need to get a Dr. Fauci tee shirt.)

The thing is, all this virus and quarantining stuff is new. We didn’t have any traditions or cultural habits to show us what to do. We were all quarantining, but that meant different things to everyone; some didn’t see their friends at school, some didn’t go to work, some went to work but in a different environment.

And we didn’t have any time to prepare. One day we were hearing about a new virus from China, The next the President was closing the airports, and then our schools and businesses. It really hit me when I was watching Clemson preparing to play in the ACC basketball tournament and they were told to go home. No ACC tournament. Then no NCAA tournament.

This was big.

At some point, I have to come up and try to live again.

Turtle sticking head out

Turtle sticking his head out to see the world.

To reestablish my routines as much as possible. It is still too soon to go to stores, movies, games, or get a haircut. But there are some small things I can begin to do. In my case, this would be to get back to writing.

And it’s been harder than I thought it would be. It’s true when they compare routines to trains. They are hard to start moving and, once started, hard to change. On The Write Conversation (click here for link) I give some tips on how to restart your routines, your life.

We are still somewhere in the middle of this pandemic. And most if not all of us are sick of it. We want it to be over. Although no one knows how much longer it will last; months, years?

We also want to get back to our lives. Yet, again, we don’t know how that will look. We will probably not be going back to life exactly as we knew it. How much change there will be in that new world is anyone’s guess.

But life will continue. Out of all this rottenness and hardship some good will come from it. We need to make sure we hold on to that good. Not just let the darkness hinder and cloud our future. But to learn from it and remember the good; more time with family, a slower less stress-filled life, less busy-ness. Let these things improve the journeys we will all soon be taking.

When we come out of this pandemic and quarantine, we need to remember to take the good memories with us, and not just the bad.