I am astonished to discover how badly coronavirus mitigation practices have disrupted my life. In a way, things do not look all that different. I’ve been working from home for years, so that’s nothing new. I’ve replaced my out-of-house meetings with virtual ones, so I am still talking to many of the people I would see in the course of the week. And the internet has been promising me that, now that I am stuck at home, I am going to get a ton of stuff done.

I would knit, not crochet, but you get the idea.

But the fact is, I am finding the disruption to my routine profoundly disturbing. I am apparently not alone. Chuck Wendig’s post about being disoriented due to the loss of normalcy has made me feel a little better. It contains a lot of swearing, but it also makes valid points, including the fact that this whole thing is rather like a bike accident, knocking us out of normal and into a ditch, and that we should give ourselves permission to recover a little before we get up and check our bike.

One of the things all the “introverts will thrive” posts have missed is something I didn’t think about at all when I realized I would need to stay home for the next few weeks. Introverts don’t like to be home. They like to be home alone.

My house is now full of people. Kurt and Jack are both working from home, and Cleo is trying to keep things going while entertaining my 8-year-old nephew, whose suddenly month-long spring break is without day camps or play dates. There is noise and movement and distraction all day long. I’m finding it hard to think.

When I lived alone, this sort of extended stay at home would have meant a huge increase in productivity, because I would have had more time for my projects. But having everyone home with me means that this is nothing like it would have been when I lived by myself. I have other people to consider and deal with, constantly.

I’m glad that’s true, I wouldn’t give up my family for anything, and they are helping me deal with the unexpected emotions cropping up at this time. Sharing with and helping others brings me lots of joy. But I also need to make some space for myself and allow for time off.

We’re all just picking ourselves back up at the moment.

I am not going to be writing King Lear in the next month. In fact, I will be grateful if I manage to write anything at all. I’m still shaking off the unexpected fall and trying to figure out which way is up. I will have to walk and not bike for a while. But I will start walking soon, and that will be enough.

How has the coronavirus outbreak affected you? What has surprised you most about your reaction to recent events?

10 thoughts on “Pandemic: An Introvert’s Paradise? Not For Me.”

  1. I work in home health, so not only have I still been leaving my house for work, but I have been working very long, busy days, lately. Part of me has a little bit of the-grass-is-greener syndrome going on, but I know my husband is going stir-crazy from working at home. I just am hoping, hoping, hoping that the self-isolation works and that we will *not* have to see this virus start have a widespread affect on our friends and families, and on the hospitals, nursing facilities, and other health care workers.

    1. First, thanks for the work you do. We need all the health help we can get! Second, I too hope we are doing enough. As discombobulating as all this is, it’s better than having lots of people die because our health care system can’t take the load.

      1. It felt like a revelation when I realized this was my problem… Glad others can relate.

  2. Great post, Kit! I love the part about giving ourselves permission to recover before getting back up. Last week wasn’t nearly as productive as I would have liked because I was walking around lost most of the time, trying to figure out exactly what it was I supposed to be doing. I see this next week as much more productive and…normal, if I dare use that word.

    1. Thanks. I too needed to give myself permission to be dazed and confused and that has helped a lot!

  3. An insightful piece, Kit. Speaking as a fellow introvert, I think you nailed it re the difference between being home and being home alone.

  4. Love the crash and burn bike riding metaphor (or is it an analogy? Can it be both?) I am getting outdoors a little, with prudence by staying six feet from others but generally avoiding others. I’m armed with a pack of latex gloves and one sturdy mask just in case. Still, I hate the loss of normalcy. I miss coffee shops or at least the option of going to a coffee shop. I don’t like that grocery store cashiers and first responders and health care professionals are being put at high risk just to keep the bare essentials running and in treating the ill. And I absolutely hate the pall that this pandemic has cast over the most wonderful season of the year. That said, we are all in this together, and we will come through it. I’m addressing the discombobulation by making lists and trying to micromanage at least some blocks of time each day. I don’t know if it will work, but I need to do something to deal with this disorienting crisis.

    1. The bike metaphor really resonated for me, too. I DO feel like I’m trying to shake off a bad accident, trying to get back to normal, but I can’t. My productivity has been seriously affected and I’m still trying to figure out how best to deal with this. I’m having to take it one day at a time and do the best I can. I’m trying to get my office/studio in better order, so that I focus on the projects I want to work on. This would be a challenging task at any time, but right now it seems particularly hard. I’m having to find creative solutions to storage problems because I don’t have the option to go out and shop extensively. (First world problems, but we’re all having them).

      This is the new 9/11, in the sense that things will never be the same again, and it’s hard to know what things will be like when this crisis is over with. All we can do is what we can do to keep ourselves and others safe and healthy.

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