Day1, social distancing.
This is the reality of my life right now, as it is for millions upon millions of others. This is me adjusting to the new normal. This is gratitude, for I’m far more fortunate than many. It’s possible for me to remain home.
Good thing. On the basis of my age, damage to my lungs, and Chronic Hypersensitivity Pneumonitis I have a target on my back. High risk? On a scale from one to ten I’m an eleven.
More important, no matter my risk, by staying home I don’t increase someone else’s. What could be an easier contribution than that?
All it takes is one exposure. For me. For them.
All last week (I’m drafting this on Wednesday, 3/8) I could see fate streaking towards me. Each day brought bad news that was worse than the day, even the hour, before. That included seeing the results of panic buying. I’ve always been fanatical about keeping my home stocked with supplies. After all these decades that’s finally paid off.
At least I have that satisfaction.
Even so, when I entered a store last Friday I wasn’t mentally prepared for standing amidst the new reality. It was actual dystopian, Depression Era stuff. I purchased almost all I was after and left, but the trembling remained. All weekend I was numb.
Sunday night I knew the truth, but still hedged. On Monday I stayed home from work and sent an email stating I was assessing my options. Owing to my disease I have a pension that covers virtually all of my basic expenses. My part time work was to make life more comfortable. In other words, I was in a position where I could stop working for quite an extended period and be okay financially.
Over the course of Monday they scrambled at my workplace to come up with ways for me to work from home. Meanwhile, I struggled with a decision that should have been easy. Such is the power of the capitalistic conditioning that drives so many Americans. That decision became easier by the hour as the national and international news grew worse.
It became my duty to stay home, if possible. Decision made.
On Tuesday I went to work. It was to be the last time for a long while. I tied up loose ends and collected a considerable amount of work I can do at home. I also received some quick training on how to access what I needed online. Like my moment at the store the Friday before, it was difficult to comprehend the gravity of my actions.
I was so rattled that day that I forgot to post a poem to the blog. My apologies. Over time I hope to do better.
Today, I’ve begun rearranging to better accommodate my new reality. I’m removing a lot of junk I don’t need to make it easier to do my workplace tasks, and so I can more easily exercise at home if necessary. I’m still taking walks on the nearby walking path, though.
This is me planning. This is me thinking longterm.
Through it all, I’m still a writer. There’s no shortage to my creativity. I have enough editing to last me into the foreseeable future. Then, of course, there’s drafting.
That isn’t the most important part, though. After rising this morning and riding out the fears trying to overwhelm me (yeah, there’s my anxiety too), I realized an important fact about my writing.
My fiction is, and has always been, about hope, love, purpose, and people coming together to support one another. In some tales that’s to overcome great adversity, much like the one we all find ourselves in.
I recognized in that moment that I needed my stories. They are, after all, born of a lifetime of overcoming adversity, be it abuse, illness, or other challenges. I’m a survivor. I always have been.
Eventually, there’ll be that last hurdle I can’t clear, as there is for everyone. Is coronavirus that one for me? I’ve no idea. What I do know is I’m doing my best to stay in the race.
What’s that look like? It’s the work I’m doing at home that I already mentioned. It also means writing. I’ll not be idle, not now, not while I can still create. My stories are too important to me, and maybe for someone else. Thus, I’m doing what I can in this time of crisis. I’m staying home and I’m utilizing the best skill at my disposal. May the results eventually find their way to those in need.