On March 20th as cities and states began to lock down from COVID 19, I gathered up all my belongings at work and came home with my work computer to begin teleworking for the first time in the 7 years of my employment. I was the last one on my floor to leave that day and as I looked around at all the empty offices and desks I wondered if I’d ever return there again. The answer to that question is still up in the air. As soon as I set up my home office I began my Coronavirus Journal to track my milestones and the lowest points of my lockdown adventure.
Now on the 100th day of working and being home ALONE, I’m loving it. There are no distractions and my work production which has always been very good, has increased dramatically. I could work at home forever! That said, the two hardest things about being alone are the nights which are horribly lonely, and not seeing my Mom. Thankfully yesterday on June 26th after 97 days of seeing her only through a glass door, I got to spend time with Mom outside in the backyard. We played ball and read a book and even 6 feet apart from her I felt like 100 pounds of bricks had been lifted off of me. I believe that when all families think back to March when facilities locked down, they were afraid that they’d never see their loved ones alive again as COVID raced through many senior facilities. I was terrified by that possibility!
Looking through my Journal today the lessons I’ve learned jump out at me. I can count the people I’ve seen in person since March 20th on two hands and I’m surprised that I don’t yearn for more interaction. In truth, I think I may have to turn in my extrovert card when COVID goes away because I’ve learned I don’t miss being around people!!
For the first 37 days I didn’t even start my car and I learned I don’t miss driving like I thought I would. Since mid-April I’ve driven a total of 98 miles, the longest of which was 32 miles roundtrip to the cemetery on what would have been Tim’s 70th birthday and 22 miles to and from my office to get my work computer repaired. I’ve only been to the essential places to get essential things. I’ve learned I can live on very little and that I already have more than enough in my home to keep me content for years to come.
In the 100 days I’ve watched more than 50 documentaries and movies based on true stories and learned that my love of learning about people, places and things is stronger than ever. I’ve read three non-fiction books and the entire Old Testament of the Bible so far and look forward to what’s coming next. I’ve challenged myself to do new things, including building a LEGO world without Alzheimer’s, raising $3,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association fundraiser and learning new LEGO building techniques in the process.
The last eight weeks of my 100 days alone have been the hardest. The resurgence of COVID as cities have begun reopening have also brought new fears to my mind. But it’s the current racial unrest in this country that has brought me to tears day after day since the killing of George Floyd and many other Black victims. It’s been hard to sleep and think of much other than race relations (or lack thereof) during the early violence and the continuing protests and on some days I’ve felt completely overwhelmed. I have lots of faith, but it’s difficult find hope in the current state of this country on most days. I wonder and try not to worry about what will happen next. I hope that earnest dialogue on race in the US will occur and that true change can begin, but I feel that may just be wishful thinking.
Even with the current unrest, at the end of my first 100 days of being locked down alone, I believe that I am a wiser, smarter, stronger, and even more faithful person. I am thankful for my family, friends and for my relationship with God, all of which remind me that even though I live alone, I am never really alone.