I’ve been doing a great deal of thinking lately, as I’m sure most of us are doing. Tucked inside our homes quarantined from others is a lot like what Minnesotans do during bad weather.
Years of the summertime severe weather threats and long harsh winters have taught me how to stay busy while I’m alone. I’ve learned to enjoy working on art projects, fixing items around the house, reorganizing my belongings, reading a good book, and even reflecting on new goals. Could I possibly learn to think of the quarantine as an extension to winter or to those bad weather days? Let me back up and describe how the later part of this past winter was for me.
My husband and I had spent an entire month of January moving our business. I never realized what a huge job it was going to be until I stood in the middle of a floor surrounded by a dozen full garbage bags, five boxes of recyclable paper, a couple hundred pounds of metal, and a bunch of charitable items and realized, what we had decided to keep, was not going to fit into the building where it was being moved. I began to giggle at how ridiculous it felt to be a tidy person all my life and to have collected so much junk.
Juggling things around trying to squeeze all our personal and business equipment into one place, we began to hang bicycles, tools, and lawn chairs in the shed. With a dozen afternoons of sorting stacking and labeling shelves for business and household items behind us, it felt good to stand in the middle of the large clean shed.
It seemed we had no more than finished the task of purging a mess of our own making, my deceased uncles’ belongings arrived at our house, and the whole process started over again. Our social life would have to wait. The semi-truck pulled up, opened the doors, and started wheeling out box after box and furniture wrapped in blankets. After an hour, I asked the driver, “How many more boxes and pieces of furniture is there to unload?” The driver looked up. On the ceiling to the semi-trailer, there appeared a measuring system very much like the numbers on a football field.
“We’re not quite halfway…” He answered.
Just a week earlier, we stood admiring our organizational skills in this very building. Now a huge mess of boxes and old furniture cluttered the entire shed. I stood staring down the narrow path stacked higher than my shoulders. Digging into the job of sorting through my aunt and uncle’s lifetime worth of treasures, I became overwhelmed with memories and thoughts of never seeing them again. As I stood sifting through the important documents and sentimental items, I reminded myself to wait until the job’s done, to go down memory lane.
When everything had been sorted and repackaged, I was able to sit down and go through old pictures of my aunt and uncle. It reminded me of the good times I had with them. But it also made me realize how little I really knew about them. And so, my next project during this time of quarantine is going to be connecting more with friends and loved ones.
This virus is not going to define me. I don’t want to continue putting all my energy into material things and distancing from my community. After spending most of the winter being an introvert, it’s time to work on the extrovert part of me. I decided, a good way to do that is to reach out to at least one person each week with a text message, a phone call, an old-fashioned handwritten letter to say, thank you, I’m thinking of you, send a picture, or an article of something that interests them. I have found some joy among the chaos. And the trinket I discovered from this shelter at home experience, gave me an different prospective to weave into my next children’s story.
How are you handling this quarantine? What positive constructive things are you doing or seeing? Let’s look for the good!
Please feel free to share this with others.