My month of living Tapas coincided with the coronavirus pandemic hitting NYC. Hard.
It's everyone's worst nightmare, and we are all suffering, everyone in America and most of the world.
Our lives have been changed overnight, in some ways irreversibly. So many of us have lost our jobs, myself included, some of us forever. Hopefully not me, but we'll see. It's a good thing I remembered how much I love a challenge last month, because they just keep coming this month.
I am so, so lucky that things are bearable for us: my husband can work from home, my child isn't in real school yet, and my loss of income won't affect our ability to stay afloat. We have a backyard. We are healthy. But it's still really tough to be cooped up in our small living room, all together, allllll day. My husband and I have been at odds about the whole thing; we're on nearly opposite sides of the spectrum of reaction. I want to continue to work, go outside, interact, and patronize local businesses as much as is prudent, (*this was written in early March, before a Stay at Home order was given) and my husband wants to leave the city. So we are butting heads constantly and arguing more than ever. Like everyone, I'm sure.
I told my friend the other day, "There are going to be a lot of divorces and a lot of babies by the end of this", and I really hope I don't have either.
I have been approaching this situation (so far) optimistically, taking the opportunity of lots of free(ish) time to get shit done that's been on my multiple lists for too long. I'm trying to apply the mood of Tapas to those lists, as well as to the new challenges facing me. Trying to move some business online, or to conduct sessions online, be more active on social media, all of which pose a steep learning curve for me.
Week 3 asks me to practice staying one more minute in the heat of whatever I'm doing, especially if it's uncomfortable. No problem finding opportunities for that! I've been forced to stay many more minutes longer than I want to: in my apartment, mostly. But there are other ways I'm practicing this challenge, too:
Running streak: My running streak is going pretty well. I am running just a little further and harder whenever I can. But I'm also beating up my body and churning up old injuries, so my every-day-streak will have to be cut down to every-other-day, as hard as that will be on my mental health. I am struggling with staying optimistic and motivated; some days are good/productive and some are total losers. I am already feeling the loss of firm muscles and strength endurance, but my running is better and stronger than it has been in at least a year.
Other streaks: I'm also practicing yoga and meditating every day because I have absolutely no excuse not to do these practices. Sometimes I don't want to, sometimes it doesn't go that well, but I try to stay one minutes, or at least a few breaths, longer.
Sometimes staying one minute more just translates to patience, mostly with the three other beings that are on lockdown with me. I'm trying to understand and be sympathetic to their individual frustrations and adjustments, not just my own.
Week 4 instructs me to "pay attention to your daily choices" and ask if they are indulgent or building strength and character.
It is week three of quarantine. Things have smoothed out a bit as we move around each other and the "new normal" feels more just "normal". My daily choices run the gamut from indulgent to character-building; many are healthy and valuable, and many are a total waste of time. But I think they cancel each other out in the end. I am trying to use this time at home productively, but I'm not being too hard on myself for not writing my first best-selling book or keeping up my abs of steel. I could absolutely be doing better, but I could be doing a HELL of a lot worse, too. I exercise and meditate every day, but I also drink wine and spend hours on social media and crappy television every day. Some days I play with my son all day, some days he watches hours of Thomas the Train. Balance and preservation are my top priorities.
Adele instructs me to "listen to your inner voice and make choices that prepare you for the heat of life". Although this time is slow and quiet, it feels like a simmer. I truly don't know where we will be when our lease runs out in 2 months, as we've already decided we will not renew. We may go "somewhere else" for a few months (now that I am unemployed and my husband can work fully remotely) and either return to Brooklyn or settle down elsewhere. We may go somewhere in two months and stay there. We may just find a different home in our current neighborhood. I have no idea. No one knows when this will end or how life will look, especially in this city, once we're on the other side. So I'm taking the time in this simmer to prepare for the boil and the change that it will create, whatever that is.