Life in the Age of COVID-19

I reread my last post to remind myself of when I last updated, and this part still rings true:

Some days I’m okay. Other days, when I’m not okay, I’m very not okay. And I’m not sure how to deal with that.

Because since my last post, a lot has happened. More than usual, that is.

The past two and a half weeks alone have felt like the time since my last post, where worlds have turned upside down.

Minus the typical worries of a pandemic in the age of global connectedness (which is no small thing!), I’m doing better than expected. I’ve been constantly on the go for a long time, something you might have noticed from the sporadic updates, working a job and a half, gaining more of an offline social life, and losing time to pursue my more solitary hobbies. I craved a chance to slow down and pursue all the reading and writing and NaNo foruming I had been missing, all the connection that I had been craving for months and even years.

Then my wish was granted, corrupt-a-wish style… with a global pandemic. Whee.

Now, I’m forced to slow down. Social activities outside the house are going remote or stopping altogether. The Pokemon Go events in the game, including the tournaments, have been delayed or going remote. I had one final get-together with friends on Pi Day, in those uncertain days where “social distancing” creeped into our vernacular and people stocked up on toilet paper and frankly, everyone was scared of what would come next. By Pi Day, Tom Hanks had announced his coronavirus, most major sports had suspended their season, travel limits began, and my inbox filled with business emails discussing what they were doing about the coronavirus.

Oh, and boycritter asked me if it was a good idea to go ahead with the Pi Day party. We went ahead with it since it was a small gathering in my home and I wouldn’t see a lot of them for awhile.

While my life has changed because of the global pandemic, it hasn’t changed as drastically as the lives of other people I know. I’m working remotely, but nothing else has changed about my job. (Not even the remote nature–the people I work with most are spread in four different time zones and I’ve worked remotely before, so I’m familiar with Slack and Webex calls and screen sharing and the “Hey, can you hear me?” that always comes with the first few minutes of a call.) Even though my home desk is small and I can’t fit my work computer, my home computer, and whatever else I might want on there, I’m still doing okay.

If anything, I’m doing far better than expected. I’ve been working remotely for two weeks, so I’ve regained four hours a week from my commute. I can use my lunch break to do chores or a round of Pokemon Go Battle League, now that you don’t have to walk to battle. This gives me more time to do client work in the evenings after my regular job and even some extra time to goof around online and talk to people and simply relax. I’ve moved one of my Cookie Clicker instances to my computer, and my roommate reminded me of Universal Paperclips. Since Pokemon Go lets you battle remotely with Good Friends now (the lowest friend level, gained after one interaction), remote tournaments grew in popularity and I joined two–one for my local community whose in-person counterpart was cancelled, and one on another server. I read a book while spending last weekend with the boycritter (and doing some raids from his car at parking-friendly raid spots), right before my city implemented a stay-at-home order through April 7. And since exercise is still allowed, I’ve squeezed in a couple of walks around the neighborhood, doing my best to avoid more crowded areas.

But all this spare time reminds me of all the things I’ve left behind over the past couple of years and have wanted to reclaim. I’m behind on my reading target for this year. I’ve barely written. I still haven’t touched Wikiwrimo or made an attack plan for Camp NaNoWriMo, and my to-do list there is growing faster than my to-read list and everything feels like so much. I wanted extra time to relax and work on other projects, and now I get that time, but with an undesired twist.

Because somewhere under my okay state, there’s a longing for what could have been. I was dreaming of a vacation after some big work projects wrapped up. Several non-local friends had plans to visit in the next few weeks. I was going to see Hamilton again. Maybe my vacation could include the Philadelphia Safari Zone. Now everything is up in the air, and no one knows when things will be normal again… or if they will be.

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