I’ve been in near-complete lockdown since mid March of 2020. This is because I work from home (and so does my partner).
My family of origin and in-laws both live hundreds of miles away cross-country, so there’s little pressure to do any in-person gatherings because the logistics are a bit daunting even in non-COVID times.
I have a few local friends in Texas, but we’re not terribly close. The pandemic hit just as we were starting to make friends in the area. So again. No reason to really see anyone.
And in Dallas-Fort Worth, the delivery economy is mighty-mighty. Seriously. I can get pretty much anything delivered — and cheaply. There are several competing grocery delivery services that are all reliable and easy to use for anything perishable. And other supplies are easy to order online and can arrive whenever they arrive. Cleveland (where I moved from) is also a major city, but a much smaller one, and it’s night and day how easy it is just to get whatever I want delivered to my doorstep in DFW.
I chat with friends online, talk to my mom on the phone, and have done some video calls with my in-laws. But I have only really gone anywhere on a few occasions since March…. to take my cat to the vet when he developed diabetes this spring. And to go get a physical at my primary care physician’s offices because my labs were way out of date.
Sometimes my partner and I just hop in the car and drive. We’re limited by how far we can go without needing a bathroom break (since that typically requires going inside somewhere). But we went up to the Red River one day, which was stunning.
I Feel Grateful, More than Anything
Sounds pretty bleak, eh? Well, it’s not so bad. I’m grateful I can do that. That I can work from home, that I don’t have kids who go to school (and who might get exposed there).
I’m also grateful that my partner and I tend to agree on what’s an acceptable level of risk. He goes out a bit more than I do (for some miscellaneous responsibilities/errands) but always masked and only to places where there is a mask-required policy. And maybe only once or twice a month.
I’ve talked to other folks where one person in their relationship thinks the pandemic is no big deal and another wants to take precautions and holy crap… and I have a friend whose mother won’t leave them alone trying to guilt them to come over (when their mother is being frankly kind of reckless re: risks).
I feel grateful, more than anything, that I’m managing this strange existence in the present.
I Am Working on Presents for My Future Self
And the way I get through the days is by working on presents for my future self.
When I start to get sad that I can’t go somewhere or do something, I write it down. Save it for later. As a promise to myself once a new normal gets here.
I’m writing like a fiend. Psychic City came out. Psychic Inferno, its sequel, is being worked on with my editor and will come out. I have written a third book, Minerva the Liar, that will be tackled after that. And I’m working like crazy on the fourth book in the series (as of the day I’m writing this essay, I’m a third finished writing it). Writing is something I can do right now, so I’m focusing on that.
And I’ve lost about 20 pounds the past few months, which is the 15 pounds I gained from emotional eating during the pandemic (and via grief from my dad dying about a month into lockdown) and 5 more. Because I’ve decided that whenever this is over (or semi-over), I want to be in good fighting shape so I can do everything I planned as easily as possible.
I’ll be honest: A lot of the days are strangely the same. Dull and only punctuated by existential angst from political unrest and uncertainty (and the fact that there’s a pandemic underway).
I am not living for today. Not really. Instead, I am working on presents for my future self. I figure my job is to spoil her — because by the point that time comes, she’ll really need it.