empty grocery store shelves during quarantine

"Will My 30th Birthday Pass in Quarantine?" and Other Questions

Mar 30

We are living in unprecedented time, folks. The Coronavirus has halted travel, left Italians on lock down, crashed the stock market, made toilet paper disappear, and is now threatening to bankrupt creatives, wedding vendors, salons, restaurants, and more. “Social distancing” is a constant topic. The situation, to put it simply, is serious, but I’m trying to handle quarantine with a lot of stress eating and a dash of dark humor.

In my ample free time, I often wonder, “How will they write about this time in history books?” How will we talk about to our children or grandchildren? I usually go down this thought path when I see a great meme and think, “I bet I’ll see this in 20 years and feel SO many feels.” And then I wonder, “Will I be alive in 20 years, or will I be a statistic?” It’s a fine time to be an introvert, but not such a fine time to be a hypochondriac.

This week in quarantine, I’ve banned myself from reading any articles about the virus. “Healthy 39 Year Old Woman Found Dead After Testing Positive for COVID-19” sent me into a panic spiral that included wondering if my chest felt tight, if my allergy cough was starting to feel “dry,” and if I still had a sense of smell. My mom let me know that apparently you can have ONE or NONE of the symptoms and still be positive. I spent the entire night working on our Ireland blog post to distract myself. It worked, so I vowed to write more, and so here we are.

So, what will we tell our hypothetical children? How will we even begin to describe our time in quarantine? I guess I’d give them a list because lists are my jam.

  • We couldn’t leave our homes unless we were essential workers like a doctor or nurse or liquor store clerk. Some people went full hermit, obeying all the rules and going to the grocery store only once a week. Other people apparently went to the beach for a weekend.
  • When we did HAVE to go to the grocery store, there was no meat on the shelves (except pork chops — even in a pandemic, people hate pork chops). There was no toilet paper because in a crisis, people still have priorities.
  • If you sneezed or even so much as cleared your throat, people would do their best to stay as far away from you as possible. SOME might even go so far as to give you a look of obvious disgust.
shelves empty during COVID-19 quarantine
Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash
  • At the end of March (as in, today), our Food Lion here in Orange installed shields to protect the cashier from the customer at each register.
  • People were doing push up challenges on Instagram stories for some unknown reason.
  • The memes were TOP NOTCH during quarantine. In all seriousness, I think we were all thankful for them because everyone needed as much light and positivity as possible, especially on social media.
  • PUZZLES ARE SOLD OUT IN STORES. Puzzles.
  • Everyone had bad hair and overgrown eyebrows because salons and barbershops were closed. People tried to cut their own hair, each other’s hair . . . sometimes it was good, oftentimes it was not.
  • I ordered two books from Amazon and nearly cried from delight and surprise when they arrived promptly two days later.
  • The nation bonded over Netflix’s fascinating portrayal of exotic animal owners. There were murder accusations, mullets, tigers, triple marriages . . . and we were all hooked.
  • Why was I ordering books, you ask? The libraries are closed, guys. You can’t even put holds out and come pick them up. If I could invent one thing right now, it would be a drive-thru library. Or . . . a cure for COVID-19.
  • There was a meme out there that simply said, “I finished Netflix.” Honestly, I think some people did/will.
  • The government banned gatherings of more than 10 people. In England, the maximum was TWO unless you all lived together.

Social Distancing

Oh, how this little introvert took advantage of the FREEDOM of having somewhere to go, people to see, things to do. The plans I once cancelled because I took the freedom to make them for granted. Never again.

I have not seen my parents, my sister, my nephews, or my friends in about 2 months. Some of that is because we took turns having the flu before we left for Ireland, but we have not seen anyone since we got back.

The silver lining here? Family zoom calls. My family has three birthdays in a row — my cousin, the twins, then my grandma. We all got on Zoom for each one and had lots of laughs in our free 45 minutes.

As fun as it was, yesterday was probably my toughest day in quarantine. Having my entire family separated for the twins’ first birthday was really shitty, to be blunt. It made me nervous about my own birthday coming up in a few weeks. Turning 30 is bad enough, but turning 30 in isolation? Someone get the snacks and champagne ready — it’s going to be a sad day.

Have I ALWAYS Lived in Isolation?!

Thirtieth birthday fears aside, I’m one of those people who is not struggling THAT hard with quarantine.

I’m one of those Enneagram 1 introverts that’s like, “What is different about this?” I’m still working, I just do more from home. We still work on our house as much as we can. Rory and I go for walks, Robert and I hang out in the evenings.

dogs thriving in quarantine as humans stay home
Dogs are thriving in quarantine as humans stay home.

Everyone bemoaning how hard this is is definitely making me feel like a unabomber. So, to make me feel better, here are some ways that social distancing is different from . . . my every day life.

  • We haven’t eaten in a restaurant since March 11th. We are definitely restaurant people more than I realized, probably because I’m not so into cooking.
  • When I ran into Robert’s sister when we first got back from Ireland, we actually stood and talked six feet apart.
  • I do actually miss browsing the aisles of Target. And TJ Maxx. Those were the days — wandering through racks of clothes, touching things without fear.
  • We have ZERO events for the next several months, but we still can’t make weekend plans because social distancing.
  • I can’t really plan for my 30th birthday because WE’RE ON LOCKDOWN.
  • Usually, I’m always looking up cheap flight deals to see where our next adventure will be. Now our biggest adventure is going to grocery store.
  • They have closed the parking lots to national parks, you guys. PARKS ARE CLOSED. Somewhere, Leslie Knope is pissed, and she’s working on a binder for this.
  • I can’t run out for coffee or snacks whenever I feel like. That would be a better weight loss plan if I wasn’t home a lot of the day wondering, “What could I possibly bake with the items in this cabinet? What’s REALLY in a Chick-fil-a chocolate chunk cookie?”
  • Unlike a lot of people, I think rainy days in quarantine are fine. There’s not much you’re missing, right? But when it’s GORGEOUS outside like this past weekend? Actual torture. Thank you, Tiger King, you got us through that one.

Quarantine Entertainment

I might be a LITTLE lame, but I also just think I’m really good at entertaining myself. Here’s the list of things I’ve realized I can use this time to do:

  • Finishing our wedding thank you cards. I’m so sorry, everyone. I really thought I would so good about getting those out super fast, but it is like ACTUAL torture for some reason. Maybe because it makes me realize how bad my handwriting is? I’m so sorry.
  • Spring cleaning
  • Packing to move! AKA going through the boxes I never even unpacked the LAST time I moved!
  • Organizing our Ireland photos CHECK!
  • Blogging our Ireland photos! CHECK!
  • Blogging in general. I used to write at least once or twice a week, and I still love it.
  • Teaching Rory new tricks
  • Baking
  • Cooking new things
  • Reading the books on my shelf I’ve never read.
  • FaceTime people! I hate talking on the phone, but I still could.
  • Finish the puzzle I started 3 months ago.
  • Clean up the venue’s storage room

The list goes on, guys. There are a million things to do. But I should clarify . . . I HAVE thought about the people are quarantined fully alone or with someone(s) that they cannot stand. If you’re living with shitty roommates in quarantine, I am so sorry.

The Silver Lining of Quarantine

In all seriousness, I think the biggest silver lining of this crazy Corona time is that we are all going to appreciate normal life and each other SO much more. I can’t wait to hug my mom and squeeze my little nephews. I can’t wait to shake hands with people as I introduce myself. Going downstairs for some pizza and beer is going to be glorious. Fully stocked shelves of food will make us smile. Seeing our couples get married after waiting so many extra months is going to be JOYOUS!

comments +

  1. […] And speaking of birthdays, I’m very grateful for online shopping. Abercrombie & Fitch has a great sale going on (50% off the entire site!), so I got some Spring essentials. I feel like dressing up on my birthday will make me feel a LITTLE better! […]

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