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.
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.
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?