What Quarantine Has Taught Me

As I write this post, I am currently in North Carolina visiting with my parents to get a change of scenery for a bit. There are a lot of perks that come with staying at home: no pants, makeup-free, some extra free time in my day. If anything quarantine has taught us a lot about how we spend our time and what we want to do with our time. The last time I saw my parents was during Thanksgiving and it’s the longest we have ever gone without seeing each other. Summer has always been my favorite season because of growing up at the beach, eating outside for every meal by the pool, and sitting on our front porch while we read together on the weekends. Summertime reminds me of my family and the first few weeks of June made me miss family because of the two decades (almost 3!) of traditions with my family. I tried to stay busy but this time of quarantine has hit all of us in different ways, and I needed my family more than ever. I called my mom daily to cry, talk about my fears, talk things out and tell her about the squirrel that I saw because some days that was as exciting as things got from my living room. Living in a city has a lot of amazing qualities and those qualities make it a little more dangerous and scary during a pandemic. I couldn’t walk anywhere, go to any stores for basic needs, or spend time outside because of the heat.

My parents, cousins, and aunt decided to plan a get together in late August with the whole family at my parent’s house because it has space to safely socially distance and has great amenities. That trip kept me looking forward from a break from the isolated city life for a bit but after a few long talks with my mom, I thought it would be best to make my trip down South a bit longer. Luckily I have a very understanding boyfriend who was very sad to see me go but understand that I needed time with my family. With his work schedule and home renter responsibilities, he had to stay in Philly while I rented a car and drove 9 hours to my parent’s house. It was hard to say goodbye but I love him even more for letting me go even though he could not join me.

Right now I am not working and I haven’t for a while. It’s everyone’s dream not to have to work right? But what no one explained is the lack of structure and economic stress that comes with it. Luckily I was very good at saving and I have a good amount of money in my savings account for rent and other small purchases. Living at my parents right now means that my meals are covered and they will help out with other essential purchases. I’m very lucky that I have my parents to give me another summer free of responsibilities and just be a kid under their roof. In a sense, I’m crawling back home to mom and dad because I needed a break from the stresses of quarantine.

Where my parents live in North Carolina is a mix of suburbia and farmland so there are hiking trails, stores big enough to socially distance in and my parents have a big backyard with a pool to spend all day in. I needed a change of pace for my mental health and it made me think about how I want to invest my time and energy moving forward once I go back to Philly. Jake, if you are reading this I promise I’m coming back!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I made a list of ways I want to live my life post- quarantine because life is too short not to enjoy it.

  • work/play 50/50
    I used to revolve everything about work but I am changing that. Right now I have some flexibility to look for a job that I am excited to go to and allows for a life outside of work.
  • be intentional with my time and how I spend it
    I live in a city and want to do more exploring, go to museums, go to local stores. For a while, we were trying out new restaurants during the week but then I would stay at work late to get stuff done or just be too tired to go out.
  • hire house cleaner
    We have already talked about budgeting to get a house cleaner. I used to spend so much time cleaning on the weekends that we could have spent doing fun things instead.
  • daily walks
    You don’t realize how much you miss them until you can’t leave the house! My quarantine 10 has come from my lack of walking recently and it’s something I hope to get back to soon!
  • working out
    I’ve been doing 10-minute workouts and I have zero excuses to not stick to it. I’m hoping to join a yoga studio as a way to make friends and stay committed. During quarantine, I am building up my strength and want to tone so I’m ready for classes.
  • make plans with friends
    We always say we will make plans but this time, I am scheduling them! My previous work schedule prevented me from making plans after work because I never knew if I would be working late or not. On the weekends I was too tired to be social but now I want to focus more on living life than revolving my life around work.
  • snail mail
    My family and I have been sending cards to each other and it’s made me actually use the card sets that were collecting dust in my office. To keep this going, I made a list of everyone’s birthday in my planner so I can be ready with a card next year. It’s something so simple but can bring a lot of joy to someone instead of posting on social media.
  • plan vacations
    Jake and I are making a list of places we want to visit when we can travel again. Since a lot of places will be offering big discounts to bounce back we added those to our list along with their promotion rates. Since we get a few 3 days weekends throughout the year, I hope to start planning trips during those weekends for 2021 so we don’t have to use vacation days even.
  • meditate
    As an American Express cardmember, I was able to download the Calm App for free for a year. I don’t use it as often as I should but I’ve enjoyed the meditations before bed.
  • well-stocked kitchen
    My dad and I did a grocery run a few days ago and I cannot tell you how excited I was to be able to put whatever I needed/wanted in the cart because 1) I wasn’t paying for it and 2) we had a car to take everything home with us. I think we are going to continue with our fresh produce delivery and shop more at Costco to get stuff in bulk. I wasted too much time going to the grocery store each week.
  • make time to cook
    I used to live off of frozen Trader Joe’s meals and other frozen packaged dinners but the food shortage has really made me make a meal plan and get creative with what I can make. We used our crockpot for a lot of meals and had more of a vegetable-based diet since we got a weekly produce box delivery. I’m excited to keep this new hobby of cooking going!
  • read more
    I think I am so used to running around that sitting down to read is the last thing I have time for. Moving forward, I want to be more intentional with my time by taking shortcuts when possible so I can spend more time doing what I enjoy.
  • go to bed early
    I know I’m not alone with a sleep schedule that suffered the last few months. I’ve been getting better because I’ve given myself a bedtime where I need to be in bed even if I just lay there unable to fall asleep. I feel so much better going to bed at a reasonable time and enjoying my morning the next day.

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