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My Quarantine Diary

By Lisa Valentine

It’s been nearly a month since I was put on furlough from my job in the hospitality industry. During that time, it’s mostly felt like I’ve been on an extended staycation — I’m a homebody, and one of those people who excitedly agrees to plans when my social energy is “high” and then spends the hour or so before said plans dreading the upcoming activity and thinking of excuses for a raincheck.

It’s just how I’m wired; I don’t intend to flake, but sometimes when game day rolls around, it’s just not happening.

So, for me, staying home in quarantine hasn’t been THAT big of an ask since it’s my nature to avoid crowds and spend lots of time recharging my batteries solo. That said, around Week Three, I really started to get the itch to rejoin normal life, get back into my weekly routine, put on real clothes and makeup, and generally have somewhere to be.

I’ve been reading a lot, and since the library extended all due dates indefinitely I had plenty of time to finish the four books I’d checked out. I’m working on the last one now (“Normal People” by Sally Rooney).  I can still check out ebooks from the library, so I’ve read “Desperate Characters” by Paula Fox on my Kindle, and now I’m working on “Why We Can’t Sleep” by Ada Calhoun.

I’ve also used some of this free time to polish up my resume (as we all should in these quote-unquote uncertain times) and I created a Wix site for my resume and writing portfolio. Next on my list is a revamp of my LinkedIn presence, as well as a list of LinkedIn Learning classes I want to take.

I’ve also been forced to cook at home a lot more since my sister (who is also my roommate) and I are limiting trips out. I’ve experimented with a variety of grocery shopping options: Vons pick-up, Smith’s home delivery and Amazon Fresh doorstep delivery (Amazon Fresh is free delivery for Prime members). I was pretty pleased with Smith’s, so next time I order at the end of the month, I’ll go that route again. I also like Amazon Fresh, but it’s challenging to get a delivery scheduled since they only release a certain number of slots per day.

One thing that’s really surprised me is I haven’t had much desire to online shop. I’m a shopaholic, and often I’ll “window” shop online, filling a cart and then abandoning it or editing it down to just a couple of items. I think knowing that I’d have no use right now for new clothes has tempered that desire — that, of course, and the general sense of impending financial doom.

So far the biggest takeaway from this experience for me has been the realization that I don’t actually require that much to be happy, and that so often it really is the little things that make the difference.

For example, just cooking a meal that actually turns out delicious now makes my whole day. Also getting a normal night’s sleep feels like a gift. I’ve had pretty crazy insomnia over the past few weeks, but I’m trying to make the most of it since I’ve always been a night owl and feel more creative and productive after the sun goes down. But, sleeping until 1 or 2 p.m. doesn’t feel great either, so working on finding a balance there for the rest of this quarantine.

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