I was out yesterday and once again was reminded how fortunate I am to live in such a beautiful place, Boulder, Colorado. There is a smell to the air here that is unlike any scent I have encountered. What I truly love about where I live is the nature that surrounds me. To me, nature is never boring, it always has something new and different to offer up if you let it, it is still yet uplifting and most of all, it heals me.
Let me be completely upfront about the times right now- it is weird, strange, foggy, blurry, confusing, scary…my list could go on. Yet it also seems as though time has paused, or at least caused me to pause. It has thrown me into self-reflection and shoved me full speed ahead into healing! Doesn’t it kind of feel like we are living in the twilight zone? Anyhow, let me get to my main point. I’m pretty good at entertaining myself. I’ve always loved reading, writing, doing puzzles, you know, brain stuff. But this time it’s been different, being alone in quarantine and I have to say even I’m going bonkers right now.
I wasn’t alone several years ago, my husband was with me, Jim. He suddenly passed in 2017. So now it is me and my two dogs (thank god for my dogs!). I’m also blessed with amazing friends and family. I’ve spent the last year and a half working on myself, my tools, my mindset, personal growth and staying in mostly a positive state. But right now, I’m alone. Unexpectedly alone. Wait, wait, don’t feel sorry for me, that isn’t what this is about. What it is about is the real, raw fact that it isn’t just seniors that are quarantining alone right now (bless them too), it is widowers like me and a list of other introverted individuals with their own reasons as to why they are faced with quarantine alone time. So, what do we do? Talking to ourselves is one thing but having a Q&A session with myself (okay, and my dogs) can get a bit…well…odd.
My parents are still alive. I’m grateful. I love them dearly, but here is the thing, they are constantly at each other’s throats….in a Costanza kind of way! It pisses me off. Why? Because they at least have each other. If my Jim was here, we would be having a blast, making every day its own adventure, not battling it out day in and day out. So, my lesson at this stage in my writing is to appreciate who you are with and who you have in your life, even if you are quarantining alone, be grateful. I have a newfound respect for grateful (thank you quarantine).
So, Jim isn’t here. It sucks. I’m forced to have all of this extra time to think about that reality. There are millions of us widows and widowers, and just as many singles out there navigating this storm alone. It’s not fun and that’s just the truth. And I live in one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., with so many things to do outdoors….even now. I can’t imagine being stuck in Michigan (my hometown) right now (insert another grateful reflection here)! So here I have a choice, I can stay in “forced to” mentality OR I can choose a few strategies (from my toolbox) to keep my sanity, I decided it might be helpful to share these as well.
- First and foremost, do something fun each day. It can be something as simple as coloring. I recommend something silly and playful! Legos are cool too.
- Do something outdoors. For me, this is easy because I love going on adventures with my pups! Granted, there are a lot of places off limits currently, so we just make an adventure out of finding a safe, socially distant spot each day. Even if it is pulling weeds, it gets you out into the dirt and dirt heals hearts, that’s what I say.
- Do something work related that is creative and off your normal path or “work”. This is a perfect time to unleash brainstorming and creativity! New graphics, a course, an article…the list is endless. Can’t think of anything? Feel free to reach out and we can brainstorm together! I’m always up for a creative Zoom session.
- Do something to connect. Interaction is key right now, and personally, I’m not going to let the world coming to a halt get in my way. I’ve been sending out cards, talking on the phone as much as I did in high school, and FaceTiming with friends and family! Make a point of interacting each and every day. There are some cool things surfacing like Zoom murder mystery parties that you can do with friends and family. I will have to check that out!
- Do something to help. Nothing feels better than helping someone else. Lend an ear, send a note, run an errand. Get your mind off things by being there for someone else! I read recently how an entrepreneur was buying groceries for two people or families each week, in her town. What an awesome idea!
- Do something for your health! Exercise on demand, learn a new recipe…just find a way to treat yourself well. Have you seen the new masterclasses on line, oh yes you can learn how to make authentic Italian pasta!
- Do something educational. I’ve decided to start playing piano again, and my brother is learning how to play guitar. (Please don’t expect a band debut from either of us.) Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn a foreign language? Have fun with this. If it’s not fun for you, then just don’t do it.
- Most importantly, last but never least, let your inner circle know what you need! Trust me, I know this isn’t easy. But it’s more important than ever. People can’t read our minds, and everyone has their own life to live. So, speak up. You don’t have to tell the world but tell those you’re closest with so they can help. My niece calls me every day, my friend drops off bananas to save me a trip to the store! Let people help you during these chaotic times. You can even start a “needs” email or text stream with people you love and trust. It can go something like this… “What do you need today or this week? Name at least one thing that I can help you with.” Then end with. “My need for this week is (insert whatever it is), okay mine would be chocolate, can you recommend the best possible chocolate available in our town etc…” or when you are out again, I would love some chocolate J
Thank you for reading and joining my journey today. This is your journey too. Please feel free to connect with me, whether it’s for support or more ideas. I’m always here to help you. Even if you have a needs request, we can start there. No one should go through this alone!