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45 Days

What I’ve learned in 45 days, and what I wish to remember forever.

Forty five days ago my friend Katie published a powerful article on why it’s so important to address the concerns that COVID-19 presents to our society — and why we should stop using keywords “coronavirus” and “COVID” excessively. Forty five days ago we were already emotionally drained, scared, and tired of hearing about it. Little did we know it was just the beginning.

Today, forty five days into quarantine, I sit down in my 850 sq. ft. apartment where I’ve spent the better part of my days, I sip on some whipped coffee — YES, I fell for the Instagram fad, and I think of what I’ve learned by simply not leaving the house. Here are 10 things I vow to keep doing when the outside is open for business.

1. I’ll keep writing and finding ways to be creative

There’s a couple things that have kept me creative. Little DIY projects, getting around to developing smarter campaigns for my company, and finishing articles I started a long time ago. Before I get busy with work, school and a social life that’s been on pause for way too long, I’m working hard to build the habit of staying creative in my own way.

2. I’ll get better at connecting with others

Yesterday I finished the first semester of my master’s program. I knew working full-time and going to school would take a toll on me, but I could’ve never predicted how a global pandemic would only make things harder.

My program has been challenging. There’s days when I have trouble fitting in and finding common ground with my classmates. But this recent sense of togetherness has brought me closer to some of them. I’m grateful for those who have been there for me, and want to remember this feeling moving forward.

3. I’ll say “thank you” more often

You probably remember that I cried during a meeting with my boss the first week of quarantine … not my finest moment. The first few days were hard, and sometimes I still have trouble getting out of bed. But I am thankful for a great team, great coworkers, and a network that has helped me stay creative and productive. Thank you to those who have gone out of their way to remind me that things will eventually be okay.

4. I’ll read the full article, not just the headline

Yes, I’m guilty of assuming the headline sums up the whole story, and I’m even guiltier of later spreading this message without having all the facts. After seeing the dangers of erroneous information, I’m committed to getting the full story. I hope my readers have the same idea.

5. I’ll be mindful of how others are coping

I wear my emotions on my sleeve. I’m passionate about the things I care about and I believe in over communicating. Unfortunately, this is not how everyone handles their emotions, and I struggle understanding this at times. Being home for forty five days has helped me slow down, and think of what others are going through and how they’re handling it.

6. I’ll keep cooking

This one I’m not so crazy about, but there’s something about cooking my own meals that’s made me feel more connected with myself. During quarantine I’ve enjoyed putting easy recipes together, and I hope to keep doing it even when going out to dinner is more tempting … and available.

7. I’ll cherish the little moments

I bought a little breakfast nook for my apartment and it’s made me beyond happy. Not because of the purchase, but because a few new pieces have slowly turned an apartment that once felt so temporary into a home. Being comfortable with building a place that feels mine has given me a sense of comfort I never imagined. I don’t want to lose this.

8. I’ll stop waiting for life to be a movie

My boyfriend once said that people romanticize things because of the media. By people, he certainly meant me. I’m always expecting a grand gesture, a strike of luck, an unexpected event, a picture-perfect moment. These expectations always lead to disappointment.

Today, I crave a coffee with friends, a face-to-face meeting with my coworkers, being able to hug my mom. The big things don’t matter, when we can’t have what really nurtures us.

9. I’ll remember people in service roles

Last week my apartment flooded. It was a disaster. All my furniture (even the new breakfast nook) got wet, and it took a few hours and lots of help from my building and a third-party company to get it under control.

The men who helped me risked their lives to come into my apartment and worked tirelessly to get the water out. Like them, many others are going outside every day and risking their lives and their families’ lives to serve their community. I’ll continue being grateful for them, and keep their efforts in mind when I’m struggling with my own work.

10. I’ll be kinder to myself

This one’s hard, because I’m not. I never think I’m doing a good job, working hard enough, or dedicating enough time to the relationships in my life. Today, on day forty five, I vow to be kinder to myself, and give myself permission to screw up every now and then.

Here’s to better times and more lessons.

– C

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