The Before Times

As we enter into the second calendar month of covid-19 taking a wrecking ball to the eastern half of the United States, “real life” seems to be slipping further into the recesses of memory.
When I was looking at the Cozi app yesterday, I was surprised to realize that I’d gotten our car tuneup just two weeks ago. It felt like so much longer ago. We saw our last movie in the theater on March 13th, and that too feels like it should have been January, or at least late January.
Suffice to say, the prospect of “getting back to normal” being at least June feels suffocating, daunting, terrifying, horrible, and a thousand other words.

At the time I write this, we have about a dozen cases in our city. I’m not sure what to expect, because while the governor and businesses have been decently proactive about shutting things down, in the end, the burden of keeping the damage to a minimum falls on the public to keep away from each other. The effectiveness of that feels more like a scattershot. Most of my friends seem to be staying home, but then, our neighbors up the street had some sort of soiree this past weekend. I honestly wanted to go over there and yell “SOCIAL DISTANCING!”, but I am an Enneagram 1, so this is a surprise to absolutely no one.

So, I’m qualifying my “woe is me” post with the facts about our city because I understand that we’re breaths away from overrunning the hospital with thousands of covid cases. I could look back on this in a few weeks and wish that I was having trouble figuring out how to function. But there’s this fallacy out there that just because someone else is suffering worse that means you can’t acknowledge how you’re doing. I also figure there’s got to be other people in a similar boat too, and it’s nice to know that you’re not alone.

In The Before Times, I had a really good schedule going. I was rolling out of bed around 7:30 every morning, running errands, and being so productive that by noon, I could collapse on the couch feeling accomplished. My schedule was wonderfully predictable, and I felt like I was functioning so well.
Naturally, one by one, every piece of my schedule was stripped away. At this point, all I have left are trips to the grocery store, but I’ll be honest – pandemic grocery shopping sucks all the fun out of grocery shopping, which wasn’t all that fun to begin with. The most entertaining part is wondering what random thing Kroger is going to be completely out of this week, while hoping that it isn’t something that I was hoping to get. (Side note: Local folks, you guys are eating a disturbing amount of tortillas.)

I’ve said for years that I function best when I have a predictable schedule, and set cues to bounce off of. Nothing has proved me more right than having this functioning schedule and then losing it. It’s incredibly frustrating. I feel like I get a little less done every day. At this point, I’m still brushing my hair, but in another couple weeks, I might be looking at a buzz cut. Periodically, I understand Britney Spears, and this is one of those times. I feel your stress in my soul, Britney.

This feels a lot like my last few years in Michigan. For whatever reason, I can’t leave the house. I don’t have a lot of people to talk to. I have little schedule, and feel helpless.
But, the thing is, it doesn’t need to be the same. I am not Sarah circa 2012. I am stronger, and I am resilient.

I just need to sit down with a pen and paper and make some sort of schedule, and then keep tweaking it until it works for me.

My name is Sarah Michelle, and I will not be afraid.

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