Life these days comes at me in waves — waves of sadness, waves of doubt, waves of dread, waves of moments where everything just seems so surreal and then surprisingly sometimes, there are waves of contentment and gratefulness.
My daughter Miranda is sheltering at home in Canton with her three little daughters and her husband, who thankfully, has been able to work from home through most of this. Miranda finally went to a doctor’s appointment one day last week and she described her trip back out into the real world using the word “surreal.” She literally hadn’t cranked her van in days, since they have everything, including most of their groceries, delivered. So it was her first real foray into “mask land,” where everyone greets you from a distance. That area, part of the metro, has been affected significantly more than our area here (so far).
I realized the way she felt but since I have been going out to a second job every weekend, I have grown, if not used to it, at least no longer quite so stunned by this new world we live in.
And truthfully, as far as my own little world is concerned, there are days that I am quite all right with the way things are. The best days are the days when Charles and I are home together. And I know that he is one of the main reasons for this feeling of contentment, because he is my home.
Then there’s our menagerie of pets – constant, affectionate and so so happy that they see so much more of their people.
The longer this, and by this I mean the need to social distance to protect ourselves and others, goes on the more I feel, well, at home.
I am an introvert by nature. That might surprise some, considering my job is talking to people and going to sometimes crowded events.
But the truth is, I have always preferred solitude and quiet over crowds and noise. I even hate sound systems and crowds of people on the beach. That’s a pet peeve of mine. Why would you come to the water with a loud crowd and loud music and then do everything you can (it seems) to ignore the natural beauty and sounds all around you? Loud music and human raucousness feels like sacrilege in a place that is very spiritual for me, a place of calm and escape.
That’s why I seek the quietest beaches during the off season whenever possible. Again, I need that quiet, that peace.
But I digress.
Were it not for a pandemic that is causing so much suffering and death around the world, something that constantly weighs on me, I believe I could truly adapt to the life I am living now.
Let me tell you first of all, I don’t miss the rush to get out the door, to get things done, to remember what time what thing is. I don’t miss wondering what I am going to wear all the time.
I don’t miss getting dressed up for some event. I just don’t. If I never have to do that again, I’ll be just fine.
I don’t miss having to make small talk with people I barely know or the need to feign interest in something I could care less about.
And this is a such a trivial thing, but I don’t miss pedicures, which has always been a mainstay of warmer weather. I thought I would, but I don’t. In fact, I never really liked getting them, just the way my feet felt and looked afterwards.
And I’m finding I don’t so much mind the gray that is popping up in my hair. I will get haircuts again for sure, but it might be a long time, if ever, before I get a hankering for color or highlights.
I don’t miss shopping, but then again I already didn’t like that before the virus.
I don’t miss sitting in crowded restaurants, no matter how good the food, trying to talk over too loud music. In fact, I’ve rediscovered some of the joy of making our own meals, something I was doing less and less before the virus.
Don’t get me wrong, there are so many things I do miss, though most of them are not the small things that were so a part of my routine when this whole thing started.
I miss my daughter and my giggling, scuffling, smart little granddaughters, I miss my quiet son who lives in Ohio and is in fragile health and the rest of my loved ones that live closer by.
I miss hugs. There is nothing like a hug.
I miss the fishing town of Darien and Jekyll Island and St. Simons, all places Charles and I have said we could so easily make our home and love to visit often.
I miss Monday morning in person talk sessions with Zach, who is not only my editor but my very good friend.
Speaking of friends, I miss girls’ nights out, road trips and birthday celebrations. I miss a quiet supper or lunch with a friend at a restaurant just to catch up.
I am feeling my way back to the things I love and value and I am figuring it out as I go with the best information I can find. I don’t want to get sick, of course, but even more than that, I don’t want to be the person who causes someone else to get sick.
This situation has made me realize that I should think more purposefully about how I spend time from now on, even as we eventually move on to our “new normal,” whatever that may turn out to be.
Margie Richards is a reporter and office manager for The Madison County Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.