The thing about sheltering in place, for months, is that you go through stages. Once you’ve gotten through the grief over the end of the world as we know it, and you’ve watched every season of every show ever, and you’ve attempted art project after art project (while secretly hoping you’ll discover some thus far unknown talent), and you’ve thrown out the diet, only to restart the diet, and then throw it out again, and you’ve gone from working out twice a day, to not at all in a week, and back to twice a day, and you’ve finally given up hope that Beyonce will grace us with a new album during this tough time, and you’ve figured out how to maneuver around your family members who are in your home 24/7, and you’ve given up on the idea that the day of the week actually matters, and you’ve really played out the jokes “hey should we go out to dinner tonight?” far past them being even a little funny…after all of that (and more) you’re left with yourself and a lot of time.
The sheer amount of time.
I have never had time like this in my life. I’ve worked since I was 16 years old with only one four month break in my 20s after an ill-advised move across the country and back. Other than that, there has never been a time in my life in which I wasn’t involved in a million things. If not work, volunteering, friends, kid’s activities, and more. I’ve had full days in the past couple of months in which I sat in my home office and did nothing but look around and wonder what the f-ck I should be doing. I’ve always said that I do far better when I’m really busy than I do when I’m not. I think that’s true to a certain extent, but I’ve also come to realize that when there is endless space and time and no concrete ideas about what normal will even look like again, new things begin to percolate in my brain.
I’ve always had ideas – I’m good at ideas – I’m not always good at following through with those ideas. The thing about having all the time in the world, and not very much to do, is that the ideas go from percolating to hatching into real things. Real live things.
My husband and I have been talking about doing some sort of Choose Your Own Adventure kind of thing for years. I didn’t know how to do something similar that felt like mine. And, to be frank, I never had or took the time to figure it out. Who has time for that? It’s way easier for me to think about writing a blog post, or a book – concrete things I understand – than to take on something I couldn’t quite get my head around. It’s hard to take real time to think about things when there is so much other stuff going on.
It’s not hard to take real time to think when there is nothing going on. Or when the speed at which you normally live your life has been put to an immediate stop. I started AChapADay for young readers in mid-April and my last chapter goes up tomorrow. It was such a learning experience and I had so much fun doing it that I think I’m going to do an adult version in June. And, to be clear, it wasn’t perfect. But also? Who cares? My usual fear and unwillingness to put anything out that didn’t feel perfect has taken a back seat to just doing it.
I’ve also been trying to find ways for my business to shift with the way the world is shifting. And I think we may have found a way to do just that – more on that later.
The point is, this has been a weird couple of months, and a lot of it hasn’t been good. I don’t mean for my family – thankfully we are okay – but for the world this has been tough. Everyone is finding their own way to get their heads around what it all means. For the world, for the economy, for our health, you name it. It’s going to take some figuring out for a good while.
But the break. The pause. It has allowed for some pretty cool things to be born. People are so creative and smart – it’s amazing what people are coming up with. I’m so grateful that I too have had this time and space to bring some of my ideas to life. I am fairly certain that had the past few months gone as planned – filled to the brim with work, volleyball, the gym, running around – I would very likely not have been writing or strategizing about new business opportunities. It’s pretty easy to put those “I’M SO BUSY” blinders on and just continue to speed through life.