I know that in my last post I refused to talk about what’s going on in the world right now, but my perspective has changed a bit. I think it has struck me (maybe finally) that we are living history right now; I mean, this is something that hasn’t happened for decades, even longer, and the fact that we are experiencing it is important. I think. So I’m going to do my best to recount how this time is looking for me.
I went outside last week.
I know what you’re thinking. We’re currently in Week 3 of social distancing, you haven’t left the house? Of course, I have. I have taken out the trash. I have walked the dog. I have gotten the mail. This week, however, I spent more than an hour outside each day. And I think it merits discussion.
Let me begin by saying this: I DON’T LIKE GOING OUTSIDE. I don’t like bugs, and I don’t like being uncomfortable in general, which seems like something that puts me at odds with the great outdoors. I don’t like exercising. Nope, not a bit. I would almost never rather be exercising and moving around than sitting around watching my tv show or reading a good old book.
Self-Quarantine for an Introvert
Okay, so when this all started I had serious anxiety over this pandemic; I was crying frequently, even when there were no cases in my state, updating national confirmed case counts and infographics highlighting states and counties in red when they had confirmed cases. I’m sure that’s not unique.
On the FLIP SIDE, I was kind of excited about the permission (nay, encouragement) to stay in my own home and not socialize. That’s kind of the dream for someone who would rather spend most of their time electively on their own or with their own family.
I think it’s a shock to us all that I started to get stir crazy. It wasn’t that I wanted to leave the house or that I didn’t necessarily like the way I was spending my time. But even in my home, with the people I love most, I’m spending way more time with people than I am used to, especially when I’m feeling nervous and anxious. Desperately, I need time to think and to process, and it’s been hard to find that. Anyway. Time for a walk!
I Go Out Walking (but not after midnight)
I don’t live in a place where it’s super convenient to just go out for a walk; the road near my home isn’t busy necessarily, but there’s also not that much of a roadside shoulder, so I’m not that comfortable walking with a stroller along the roadside. The property on which we live has lots of land but no trails, and it hasn’t been mowed yet, so the grass is super tall and also not too conducive to strolling. So, the only logical conclusion is a walk in town.
I think most average people would walk on the streets/sidewalks in town, right? I don’t particularly want to run into stray dogs, and I’m not wild about hills (please stop judging me), so I started walking on the high school track.
I can also say that I am very grateful, because I spent the entire drive to town concerned that I would have to touch something that had maybe been touched by someone else, but the gate was wide open, and the only things I touched on the entire trip was my strollers handles and the car door. Praise the Lord for unexpected mercies.
Let me just tell you, I have been shocked by the results. The quiet of walking on the track, alone, has been such a godsend. I have time to think! Not about my path– that’s the great thing about circles, but about everything. What I’m feeling, what I’d like to accomplish this week, what I have to be thankful for. And I do not stress, and I just move. I don’t normally like moving– I live a pretty sedentary lifestyle. But right now it just feels good to be actively doing SOMETHING, and this has been such a relief.
Don’t go getting it in your head that it’s this entirely serene time; I do listen to My Favorite Murder as I walk, which is probably not the most peaceful background noise, but it’s doing wonders to relieve my tension. Who would have thought?
But guess what happened next.
No, go ahead.
Okay, I’ll tell you. I started electively choosing to go outside at home. To play in the yard! To walk around the house. To sit on the porch instead of on the couch.
Also, I met all of the exercise goals on my Apple Watch for the first time in literal months. Like, I can’t even remember the last time I met those!
My face got sunburnt, but now it’s kind of tan and that’s an interesting improvement.
As one might expect, my son is thrilled to be outside. In fact, he cries when we come indoors and points repeatedly at the front door, How dare I take off his Converse?! He wasn’t done playing in the gravel!
Not only have I noticed a pleasant improvement in productivity and mood, but it’s just so nice to be outside. To be reminded that although everything else about the world feels oddly transformed in a way that is both unpredictable and slightly terrifying, the actual literal world is moving on. The grass is still become more green as spring sets in, the wind still blows, the sun will still shine every once in a while. There’s something so reassuring in that constancy.
Also, is there anything better than reading a book on your porch in the sunshine? I’m pretty sure there is not.
MY ENCOURAGEMENT: Take a walk, dang it! If you feel yourself melting into a house-confined blob, maybe step out your front door and look around for a minute. Take a few breathers and get out. You don’t have to touch anyone, and to be honest, you don’t even have to talk! I know I don’t. But it has been refreshing and a great reset, especially when I live somewhere that seems to see a lot of rain right now. Get out while you can, and try to remember the good things.
I know this isn’t a new revelation to many of you, and that’s fine, but it’s been a bright new thing for me and I’m excited to share it.
Stay safe, friends, and find ways to reset the daily monotony. Love y’all.