The Solitude of Social Distancing
I’m thinking about the hours, weeks, and days that stretch ahead, alone in my house with my cats. Don’t get me wrong. I love my furballs, and they’ve always been a great source of comfort. But face it. People need people, and much as I might try to deny it, I’m no exception.
Over the last couple of years, I put a lot of time and energy into creating a new normal which included leaving the house three days a week to go to the gym, and running errands afterwards on Wednesdays. The first week of my self-imposed retreat left me wandering the house, unsure what to do with myself. The first couple of days were actually spent resting though. I’d absorbed a lot of energy from people and places that left me utterly drained.
I got up in the morning, later than I was used to, only to wander from couch to couch, and often ending up on the guest room bed for a couple of hours, yet still sleeping in the next day. I realized I had worked myself up about my final Wednesday shopping trip and 2 doctor’s appointments I had scheduled later in the week, and was driving myself crazy. Lavender candles and essential oil plus what would become a nightly tea habit brought me down a few notches.
Finding My New Normal
I didn’t truly start to settle until after the first of what would be regular Thursday night line dances via Zoom. After that, I went into an almost manic state; cleaning, doing laundry, even vacuuming the garage. In my defense, I’d spilled some cat litter while transferring it from the bags it came in into more easily accessible buckets. Once I revved up the shop vac, it kind of pulled me along, sucking up grit and rubble that had accumulated on the garage floor around my car.
Slowly, the days have started taking on a new kind of normal. I rise earlier every day; getting closer to the time my Fitbit goes off. Morning pages are, of course, still the first thing I do after getting up, followed by making the bed, putting in my contacts, feeding the cats, and then myself. At least some things haven’t had to change.
I’m still playing with the rest of the day, though. Sometimes, I’ll go out on the patio and do some freehand writing. Sometimes I’ll pull up one of my writing projects and start working on it. when I do, the day seems to get away from me, and it’s late in the afternoon before I meditate (another non-negotiable), and eat what often becomes both lunch and dinner. But I also feel like I’ve actually done something productive. In my head, cleaning doesn’t count. And heaven knows I’ve been doing more cleaning than usual too!
Idleness is No Longer a Comfortable Place
My cats are becoming more spoiled than ever as they’re getting excessive lap time and tummy skritches with me home 24/7. That will slow down as I am compelled to spend more time at the computer or on the patio writing. I do, however, carry on long, deep conversations with them. If only they could contribute to the conversation instead of it being a long monologue. At some point, I might even run out of things to say.
TV got boring within the first few days. It’s all I can do to sit still and refrain from channel surfing. Nothing holds my attention for more than a few minutes, even if I’m playing games on my phone. And even the games aren’t holding my interest for long any more. Since I’ve moved my computer into the dining room to accommodate the Zoom dancing sessions, the TV may soon become occasional background noise, and nothing more.
Somehow, I’m slowly finding my way. Motivation and inspiration are starting to increase. After sitting at the computer for hours, I’m itching to move, so the house is slowly getting cleaned, and lightbulbs that have been out for weeks are now getting replaced. I do miss my friend Jesse who is so tall he doesn’t need a step ladder. I’d call him when I needed bulbs changed, and he’d have it done quickly and easily without having to drag the ladder all over the house. Guess I need to be more careful about saying I want to be self-sufficient, huh?
Dancing for Sanity and Connection
I know the one thing that will save my sanity is the Zoom-based dance nights being set up by our dance instructors and DJ’s. At this point, there are nights when I’ll even have to choose which event to attend! Even line dance lessons are continuing, which, if you ask me, is nothing short of amazing! The Borderline family and the Country dance community as a whole have been through hell and back the last couple of years, yet, like a phoenix, we keep rising to whatever occasion we have. We’ve danced in malls, barns, and parking lots. We’ve found new places where we were welcomed with open arms. Now, we dance in our own living rooms, garages, dens, and kitchens. But we’re still dancing.
Even the technologically challenged are learning how to use Zoom, Facebook Live, and other tools many of us once used only for marketing or productivity. I’m grateful I was ahead of the curve and already knew how to use them.
I’ve had to temporarily ditch habits like going to the gym and meeting my friends at BL Saloon or Oil Can Harry’s for some dancing. At times, I feel completely disconnected and lost. If the last couple of years have taught me nothing else, it’s how to create habits that make me more efficient, more motivated, and healthier. I’m nothing if not creative, so finding temporary replacements is merely a matter of pointing my nose towards what I need and figuring out new ways to get there.
Finding New Ways to Keep Myself Healthy and Fit
Whether it’s the cup of tea I’ve added to my nightly routine, the new regular dance nights, or finding exercise videos that will keep what I’ve achieved through strength training intact until I have access to heavier weights and machines again, I’ve learned my mind and body are used to a certain level of exercise and stimulation. I might need more rest at times because the energies are heavy right now. Ultimately, I need to move more than I realized, and I will find ways to get what I seem to have lost, albeit only until I figure out a workaround.
I’ve specialized in workarounds ever since my career path started requiring computer proficiency decades ago. What I learned about software and making it produce what I wanted works just as well for exercise and work routines. In all honesty, I’m looking forward to tackling the latest challenge the Universe has added to my life. In hindsight, I was falling into a rut, and though I wouldn’t exactly ask for a pandemic to change that, I did need something to boot me in the butt. As usual, the Universe pushes me out of my comfort zone in ways that guarantee I can’t return to where I’ve been.
The Healing Gift of Gratitude
One of the changes I’ve made during what I’m calling my retreat is to post daily gratitudes on Facebook; a practice I began years ago with my blog posts. Sometimes, expanding on an old habit is the only change needed to make something new and effective.
My gratitudes today are:
- I’m grateful to be part of a community which ensures we all stay connected.
- I’m grateful for friends who call to check up on me.
- I’m grateful I’ve learned to be kind to myself while settling into a new normal.
- I’m grateful for a strong, healthy body that demands I do more than sit on the couch watching TV for hours.
- I’m grateful for a large, essentially private yard where I can sit and write, or just hang out with my outside cats Max and Cinders.
- I’m grateful for abundance; love, friendship, health, motivation, inspiration, healthy, precooked meals, solitude, peace, balance, hope, philanthropy, and prosperity.
Love and Light
About the Author
Sheri Conaway is a Holistic Ghostwriter, and an advocate for cats and mental health. Sheri believes in the Laws of Attraction, but only if you are a participant rather than just an observer. Her mission is to Make Vulnerable Beautiful and help entrepreneurs touch the souls of their readers and clients so they can increase their impact and their income. If you’d like to have her write for you, please visit her Hire Me page for more information. You can also find her on Facebook Sheri Levenstein-Conaway Author or in her new group, Putting Your Whole Heart Forward