I stare out my windows most days as I adjust to life during social distancing. Fewer and fewer people pass by, many now in masks or wearing gloves, and I'm reminded of all the post apocalyptic movies I've watched over the years. The usual "hello" from neighbors has been transitioned to a nod or a small wave as people are worried that even breathing around each other can add to this already crazy time. Friends that I so greatly enjoyed catching up with face to face are now just one more text bing from my phone or email in my inbox. I wonder if the letters I still send in the mail are opened or if they sit on a counter until they can be properly sanitized for safety. Avoiding each other has become the only way we can save each other in the end.
I'm often reminded at times in my life were being alone is all I've had, that it's a good opportunity to really check in with myself and see how I've grown, changed, or sometimes most importantly stayed the same. Having picked up in college to move to Italy without knowing a soul I've had good practice getting aquatinted with my own heart. One of my biggest recommendations for anyone before the age of 30 is to learn how to date yourself. Go to a movie alone, take yourself to a nice dinner for one, learn to stroll in the park, take a trip, see that play or concert in the company of only you. Give yourself the grace of learning what you like, dislike, are good or not good at, how you handle stress, or happiness. It's amazing the beauty you can find when you throw aside that judgement we so often have for ourselves and give yourself the benefit of the doubt to just be human and be you.
As I self isolate currently I'm reminded of all the lessons I've learned over the years. I love murder mysteries, and can be creative with just a word or two of inspiration, I tend to look up before I look down, I am a decent cook, when I can be authentically myself and dress how I want to every day I tend to appear very vintage - I also love dinosaur patterns, riding my bike might be my favorite thing after exploring, history brings me great pleasure - I revel in a good mystery about a town from days long gone. Mostly I'm reminded that I feel grateful every day to be surrounded by big hearted people that bring me joy when I can be with them and don't have to be alone. I find solace in the signs of life around me still continuing in whatever way it can.
At nights I love listening to the cheers of people celebrating those that go to work every day, on Sundays without so much traffic I can hear the church bells chime throughout the city, in grocery stores I watch as customers help each other get what they need by sharing when stock is low. While this new normal is not my favorite, nor does it feel normal at all, it's been nice to take a quick breath, check back in with me, and watch the kindness of strangers.
I hope you and your loved ones are doing well wherever you may be.