Monthly Archives: January 2022

We Just Really Wanted to Say, “No, We’re Not Insane”: 25 Ways I’ve Changed During the Pandemic, Going into Year Three!

(Note: I acknowledge with gratitude that I can work from home and I have a nice place to “be” during this challenging time. I know that many, many people do not have that ability. I am also a dyed-in-the-wool introvert, which has had certain advantages.)

  1. I’m on a first-name basis with many of the animals, birds, amphibians, and insects around my house. Oh, and let’s not forget the plants. Who knew there was so much activity going on out there all day and night! It’s endlessly fascinating. 
  2. I’m on a first-name basis with even the A. Cavaticus spiders (aka Charlotte’s Web-type spiders) on my porch and in my woodshed. Let’s see … there was Shelob, and Mrs. Orb, and Lulu … Seeing the tiny babies, smaller than a pinhead, emerge from their beautiful apricot-colored egg sacs is now a spring “event.” Most of the wee beasties balloon away on the wind. And whomever stays, well, my arachnophobia is much less now.
  3. I detest bras. Who the hell invented the confounded things?? With the straps that slide off your shoulders over and over and over all day long? And the “support” system that causes undue pressure on the mid-spine of my back and my diaphragm in front? Egads. The best place for a bra is in the wood stove.
  4. I’ve started planning meals for the week, instead of gnoshing in a haphazard manner based on my mood or stress. Dinner is becoming no longer an afterthought. I investigate good recipes and cook good food! Because I eat better, I tend to go to bed earlier and get up earlier. Wow, the sun is really beautiful when it is just coming up … 
  5. I’ve reconnected in a meaningful way with a few treasured friends with whom I had lost touch, made some new friends, and lost touch with some “acquaintances” with whom I had no real connection. And I know my neighbors on my rural dirt road better than ever!
  6. My stack(s) of good books to read keeps growing. When I die, my monument will read, “My only regret is that I didn’t finish all the books I hoped to read.”
  7. I could tell you anything you want to know about Game of Thrones, Outlander, and Northern Exposure.
  8. I no longer dress up, unless it’s for myself on a special holiday. But I do occasionally experiment with wild outfits that speak to my soul. For who will see me? And if they do, do I care? Plus, I no longer care that I am aging and that is a relief.
  9. I gas up my car about once every 3–4 weeks, rather than once a week. I spend many fewer hours hunched over the steering wheel going god-knows-where. Why was I going so many places?? The only downside is that I did forget how many gears my standard-shift car has—was it 5 or 6? I had to look down (with a rush of anxiety) when I got on the highway one day! Oh, right, 6 gears.
  10. Okay, I’ll confess, after watching Emma Thompson’s sweet, funny movie, Last Christmas, I’ve decided that George Michael was a genius songwriter and I’m just loving many of his tunes. I would not have been caught dead listening to him when younger—I was waayyy too cool! It’s such a relief not to be “cool” anymore.
  11. I haven’t had to endure a mindless conversation with someone I barely know at a party in, oh, say … two and a half years? And that is just ducky with me. 
  12. My work has gone from my small editing business, and teaching at a college, and working at a bookstore, and substitute teaching, and gardening for hire, to … just my editing business. Whew. How the heck did I do all that before? That was insane!
  13. Speaking of gardens, I’ve been reconsidering the little patch of earth I call home and I’m growing more trees. Just because it’s a good thing to do.
  14. I’m also attempting to shrink the lawn by letting a lot of it grow into meadow (easier said than done, actually, I’m finding). And I’m transitioning a perennial bed that is an “upkeep nightmare” into a pleasant, simple herb garden. Here’s to a more biodiverse, less-labor-intensive relationship with the land. Oh, and hmmm … invasive plant species? Who knew there were so many?! Well, I’ve discovered that they are nearly impossible to eradicate, so I’ve decided to live with them. Let’s just call them “nonnative.”
  15. My cat and I have a lot of different games we play. One favorite is the yoga mat rolled into a tube and a ping pong ball rolled down the tube to where she sits waiting at the other end. Who needs expensive cat toys?
  16. Man, do I look forward to spring more than ever now, because it means I can socialize outdoors! Patios and decks of friends and walks and hikes are a lifeline.
  17. Six feet is just about right. Don’t come any closer, pal. (But I will spontaneously pay for your coffee if you happen to be in line behind me, because random acts of kindness are much-needed.)
  18. At least with the mask, I can have coffee breath when out in public and no one notices. 
  19. I’ve discovered a lot of things in my house that I forgot that I had!
  20. I’ve discovered I want to get rid of a lot of things in my house.
  21. I have a recurring dream of downsizing to a tiny house.
  22. I dream a lot about going places and being in crowds where people are not wearing masks. Or, I’ve forgotten mine. I guess this is the new “naked in public” dream?
  23. I’ve increasingly eschewd the grim morning news most days in favor of kitchen dancing to my latest favorite song. I listen to news just often enough to reaffirm that, “Yup, we’re going to hell in a handbasket.”
  24. “Risk aversion” is now a “thing” that I think about. And wow, is everyone all over the map on their risk comfort levels! I suppose that has always been true, but it’s been illustrated in bold colors the past year or so. Now it’s not just do our interests and personalities line up, but do our “Covid comfort levels” align?
  25. Homemade toll house cookies are proof there is a higher power. Enough said.