How to have a happy quarantine

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I preferred isolation when it was my idea. As a person who makes a living writing, I spend a lot of time on social media platforms. I am also a basically positive person. Sure, when something goes amiss, I first have to wallow and tantrum (not necessarily in that order).

Then, I decide it’s time to suck it up buttercup and get on with finding that silver lining. At the end of February, I felt like spring was finally going to turn things around.

I shared a sentiment that said:

March will be filled with happiness.

March will be filled with positivity.

March will be filled with progress.

March will be filled with opportunity.

March will be filled with kindness.

March will be filled with love.

With that in mind, I feel like 2020 saw that and said “hold my beer.”

March slid in with death and loss and a worldwide pandemic, economic crash and general planetary mayhem. So that was not fun.

For April I’m making no big proclamations. I say we just try not to make eye contact with April and do not let it sense fear.

Grounded

Here in Ohio, we have been internationally recognized as A1 since day one. As such, it is frustrating and frankly irritating that other states are just now coming aboard to the need to self-quarantine when we here in the Buckeye State have been grounded for over a month already. Nice of those other states to join in accepting science.

I swear instead of #StayAtHomeOrder, we should have said “it’s a Level 4 snow alert.” People would have grabbed bread and potato chips and hunkered down.

Food

Speaking of eating all of the time, there are folks returning to the old ways of cooking from scratch and I applaud them. There are daily “what is for dinner?” posts where people share their amazing gourmet or stick-to-the-stomach homemade foods.

Meanwhile, when asked what I had for dinner, I feel like a margarita and an entire box of Cheez Its! is not the correct answer — but it is the one that applies. Until we know otherwise, I am operating under the assumption that carbs are the cure for the coronavirus, and cookie-loading accordingly.

Otherwise, working from home is pretty much the lifestyle I have had for years now. It’s just that I can’t run out and do things to break up the monotony. BoyWonder and GirlWonder are both home and taking college courses online. I keep hearing voices of people who don’t live here echoing around our old house.

FaceTime, Zoom and online group lectures are kind of creepy. Home security now means making sure no one has a camera on before I wander through a room in my bathrobe. On the upside, these days, showering and putting clothes with zippers on makes me feel accomplished. It also means that for the time being, Netflix can quit asking and just assume I am still watching.

Happy

Now for the positive pep talk. This will have an end date. I don’t know when, of course, but it will. We, as a society, have survived hard things. We will survive this too. At some point, we will return to work and school and life. Return to seeing loved ones. Dating and falling in love. Seeing friends.

Quite frankly things will start up again — slowly — simply because at some point we can’t afford to not do — if only for our collective humanity. We will be better in many ways for it — and, one hopes, better prepared for the next challenge.

I think we will be better able to appreciate our blessings. I hope we will be better able to understand that many of the things that we worry about are, perhaps, not that worrisome at all. That most things are inconvenient or irritating, but pale in comparison to life or death.

That we will appreciate doctors and nurses and retail workers and truck drivers equally. That we will all appreciate the efforts of farmers. If this has taught us anything, it is that food is the first priority in panic.

I hope we come out of this with renewed appreciation for our social connections. With clean hands and cleaner hearts. That we do not, in fact, return to the old way of normal. I think, in fact, we can do better. It would be such a shame if we came out of this the same.

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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.

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