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We’re Here With You

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I’m not sure what last week was like for you, but I’m guessing it felt different from the week before. You may have experienced major changes in your work situation, your finances, your child-care scheme, your pantry inventory, your worldview, your handwashing technique, your vacation plans, and your feelings towards doorknobs.

What seemed relevant then may not now, and vice-versa. I don’t believe I heard a single mention of the US election for an entire week, which was surreal. Only six days ago I was quite interested in the results of certain NHL games. Now that feels like a memory from childhood, and there are no NHL games anyway. Also, over a 48 hour span, the topic I was going to post on Raptitude started to seem a little out of touch, then became completely inappropriate — the joys of connecting with strangers in public places.

I do think staying close to our fellow humans is a vital aspect of global well-being right now, but we don’t want to connect in ways that allow our germs to connect as well. Depending on where you live, you may have been asked (or ordered) not to shake hands, high-five, shop, dine out, hug, lift weights, throw a party, give a speech, or dance anywhere but in your apartment.

Thankfully, we have the futuristic power of connecting via wire and wi-fi. Even from within isolation we can exchange kind words and thoughts through sterile electronic channels. We can even stream our faces onto screens inches from our friends’ real faces, with no risk of germs hopping over. That is pretty amazing. Pandemic sufferers of the past would not believe our luck, in that regard at least.

So it seems like the perfect time to use these connectivity superpowers for their ability to keep us close when we’re apart. I’ve already heard of isolated friends having drinks or dinner via Skype or Zoom. People are rediscovering the telephone function of their telephones. We have many ways to safely check on people. For all the disruption and danger the world is facing from our self-isolation efforts, we’re quite well equipped to stay in touch.

With this in mind, I’d like to make use of one technological power I’ve mostly neglected. A blog is usually used as a megaphone — one person broadcasts, others tune in, repeat. But it can also function as a sort of conference room, if we invite people to share their stories in the comment section.

As of this week, this blog is 11 years old. Back when it started, I would semi-regularly ask who is reading it and what they’re up to, because I just didn’t know. I still don’t — I do see the numbers, and I know there are thousands of you every day. But with the exception of a few regular commenters, I have no idea who you are, where in the world you’re reading from, and what I might see if I could stick my head through your device’s screen and look around.

Here’s what I’ve asked readers in the past, and would like to ask you now:

Who are you? Who is the person reading this blog?

Looking up from the screen before you — what’s happening around you? In this room and in your community?

And how are you doing?

Let us know in the comment section. Whatever you feel like sharing. Even if you don’t normally comment, many of your peers would love to hear from you. Just introduce yourself and tell us what’s going on in your corner of the world.

And read a few other people’s comments. It just takes one minute and will help us all feel a little less, uh… socially distant.

Every time we’ve done this in the past, it’s created a tangible sense of being among others. Even when you’re browsing a website by yourself in your dim apartment, you’re doing it alongside many other real, physical people. Their thoughts and hearts can be here with you, even though their bodies aren’t. Living in the future allows for this magic.

Browsing through other people’s accounts of their own physical corner of the world cuts through the illusion that the internet is made of webpages. It isn’t — it’s made of people.

So, world — give us the view from where you are. And discover who’s here with you.

I’ll share the view from my own window in a bit.

***

Photo by Luke Insoll

Three weeks to a more relaxed life

If you’re feeling wound up these days, I have something that can help.

I’m about to teach a group of your fellow readers an easy, do-anywhere mindfulness technique focused on cultivation relaxation and ease.

Come with us, and learn some relaxation skills for life.

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A Raptitude Community

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SABRINA March 21, 2020 at 5:39 am

Morning, this is Sabrina. I am Italian and live in Lombardy, the region of Italy currently having the highest rate of people passing. I just ended quarantine with my 10 year old daughter as I had two people in our office positive to the Corona. So beside the general lockdown I haven’t exit my home gate for.2 weeks and had my ex husband to bring us food and water, was supposed to leave the bags outside the door, but wearing a thick mask he’d come in for 2 minutes to say hi and hug Anna for a few seconds. I now have shut down the TV because sick and tired, don’t know if this is a selfish act or a survival act, trying to protect myself to be contaminated my fear, panic and all the horrible feelings you get every time you watch the news. Won’t deny the situation in Italy is really really bad, especially my area. My sister is a nurse so I do get to hear what is going on even more directly, and it’s probably me who don’t want to hear anymore. What can I say? I think I have not realized in full what is happening and might be in denial, I do not know. So far I consider myself very lucky, I had no sign of Corona symptoms, Anna is well. We spent 14 days just the two of us at home, there were some jelling, screaming and fighting but this has been the first time in 5 years where I got to spend to much time with her. You surely have the opportunity to be alone with your thoughts and see things more clearly despite what’s going. Actually the fact that you’ve got this opportunity is because of this pandemic which is going to be either a curse and a blessing, two sides of the same coin. A lot of people will leave the earth because of this, others will resurrect and will come back to life again. I will never forget that teaching I got from Man’s search for Meaning and I believe that, even the Corona is far far far and don’t even want to compare this to the Holocaust, still the teaching of that book could be applied to all of us, in particular I am thinking of all the Italians trapped/stuck/ incarcerated/ isolated … I live in a touristic area ( Garda Lake ) and it seems like a ghost town, you usually see a lot of German people at this time, and get the vibrant energy of the people getting ready to enjoy the lake, the coffee in the coffee shops, now it’s …. silence and I must admit I do enjoy this silence, this quiet. Our company has been closed for 2 weeks and this long break from work, wow, I am so much enjoying this time away from that pc I have been seeing for the past 20 years each day mon to fri. Like in every situation we are called to face, we’ll always be in charge, to choose how to see it, if rising to the occasion, if turning the event into opportunity for growth or playing the victims or some even plans created to keep us away from happiness. So far I had no people losing their life because of this pandemic … I sometimes think it’s easy for me to say all of these things cause I have not experienced the pain of the loss and maybe my reaction would be different. I have turned into a woman who’s trying to live her life trying to turn the apparently bad things into opportunity in general. I also believe that if I am now safe and enjoying this particular time of loneliness, this should not be taken away from me but the sense of guilt knocks at my soul’s door from time to time telling me: how dare you enjoying this time when there are so many people who are dying ? sometimes I remain in silence and agree with the words, at times I talk back saying that I am supposed to be here to enjoy life, life calls for joy and despite what’s happening ( and I have total respect for that ) if life has given me this opportunity I should embrace it, I am sure that, should I survive the corona, there will be other times where I’ll be asked to bear the pain of something and other people will rightly be in the joy and they should continue to experience it even though others are not in the same place. Saturday morning here, first day of spring, almost lunch time, I feel so grateful. Am going to continue my journey. wish well to all of you. felice giornata a tutti e benvenuta primavera!

Christina March 21, 2020 at 5:43 am

Wow! It’s so inspiring to hear from so many people around the world. We’re here with you, indeed.

David, thank you so much for your wonderful, insightful, “real” blog. I started following you six months ago when my aunt shared a post. Since then, every single one of your blogs has hit the nail on the head. So happy to have found you and this community of people who follow your blog!

Greetings from Great Malvern, England.  This is the fourth time I’ve traveled here to care for the adorably fluffy kitty, Tiddles.  Her owners are on lockdown in their second home in Spain. Upon their return on March 25, I planned to fly to Munich and celebrate the anniversary of quitting my job, selling my home, and traveling for two years.

Two months ago, I made the difficult decision to end my nomadic ways, look for an apartment in Munich, sign up for German language classes and start the next phase of my life.  I had five house sits lined up in Munich to give me time to get an apartment upon my return. Everything was falling into place.

Now our flights have been canceled.  My school is closed indefinitely. Three of the five housesits have canceled, the others will likely follow suit.  Everyone’s lives are up in the air.

I have my ups and downs but right now, I am counting my blessings.  I am in good health, sitting on a comfortable chair, resting my forearms against a sturdy dining room table that I suspect is older than me. The dark varnish has worn down to blond streaks in many sections, but a coaster rests beneath my cup of tea and another beneath the glass of homemade pear wine that Tiddles’ mom made.  Dozens of windows of email, chat programs, writing projects, blog entries, corona articles, recipes, Spotify playlists, and a thesaurus tab with synonyms for word “brew” compete for my attention. I look up often through a picture window wider than my mom’s gentle-giant boyfriend is tall.  Delicate white clematis flowers blanket the trellis next to the window.  A few meters beyond, a mossy cement birdbath hosts blackbirds and sharply dressed magpies. Peeking above the rust-brown of the roof, a magnolia tree is loaded with buds that are purple to pink to white, hinting at their imminent magnificence.  The fence is completely obscured by a glossy green hedge. Trees of at least twelve varieties draw my eye ever back toward the Malvern Hills that calmly supervise all below. As some others have noted in their comments here, the wonder of nature unfolds before us regardless of all else.

When I set out on this adventure two years ago, I was a different person than I am today.  Old Christina might have been sick with worry over what might or might not happen next. No one knows what will come to pass.  Everyone is afraid to varying degrees. We’re not sure what will happen next in our own lives, communities, countries, or how the virus will affect the world in general.  A couple of weeks from now, I may be in Munich as planned or I may remain in England. I’m at peace with either option. I know that there are darker options, but I know that worry won’t prepare me for them.  

I’m incredibly thankful for the amazing travel experiences I’ve had over the last 24 months.  My brain runneth over with the awe-inspiring scenes I have witnessed. My heart runneth over from the astounding number of friends I’ve made along the way.  I am happy with the person that I have become. Travel has made me more confident. More trusting in the universe. The more I travel, the more I see that people are more similar to each other than dissimilar.  We might dress, eat, worship, and speak differently, but we all have the same basic needs and desires.  We all want our friends and family to prosper. We all want to be loved and accepted. A year ago, I met a young man from Suadi Arabia who asserted that if every person in the world traveled and interacted with individuals from other cultures that we would experience world peace.

As borders are being closed, I wonder what effects the virus will have upon travel long term and what it will do to the way that the world perceives foreigners and travelers.  Let’s not let the virus divide us. One silver lining is that nationalities are working together globally. This is unprecedented. We are all in this together. United we stand.

SABRINA March 21, 2020 at 10:59 am

I really really loved reading your post. Wow, it felt I was reading a novel or something. You surely know how to write. Unfortunately I could not understand everything but I’ll surely make sure that the “black areas” will become white as the snow. I particularly loved the part where you describe the Clematis because that’s the Bach flower that represents mostly myself right now. I simply wish you to enjoy the present moment and hope this particular time we have been given for reflection will make us better human beings so that we can leave something meaningful for the next generations to come and for our remaining time on the earth with this life as a part of me in some unclear way thinks we actually are never born and nor will ever die.

Guilherme March 21, 2020 at 7:16 am

Hi. I’m from Brazil and I guess I met this blog 5 or 6 years ago (at least, my memory play tricks on me), and I can definetely tell some of yours posts made me think so much and for such a long time, that in the process I’ve become a better boyfriend, a better son, a better professional and a better friend.
A sincerely wi-fi hug.

David Cain March 24, 2020 at 10:15 pm

*wi-fi hug*

Ana Krelling March 21, 2020 at 8:08 am

I’m a 33 (soon to be 34) old woman who recently moved to Orlando, Florida. I started reading posts from this blog during my PhD, and considering those were pretty rough times for me, this blog would give me a few minutes of realizing how simple things are important in life. It truly helped me keep my mind sane during those times. And here it is, doing it again. In mid-February/beginning of March I had just started looking for a job after a period of burnout in which I could not bear to hear of my previous work. I was very excited to start a new job. And then COVID-19 hits, and the possibility of a new job soon seems to go out the window. As dissappointing as it is, I am much more worried about people who will have it much worse than me. Small business owners and employees, who are such a great part of what makes this city a great place to live, are struggling. That is without even mentioning people who are sick or whose family members are sick. And again, in the middle of panic, this blog and its comments from such kind audience come to remind me that even though it does not seem like it at times, we are indeed part of a community. It’s very nice to realize that in such difficult times.

Brandon G March 21, 2020 at 10:24 am

> Who are you? Who is the person reading this blog? Looking up from the screen before you — what’s happening around you? In this room and in your community? And how are you doing?

I am a middle-aged man from Utah/USA. Ex-mormon, Navy veteran, software engineer at the University of Utah. INFJ lol. Divorced a handful of years ago. Father of a 10 year-old. My mom is in her 60s but basically an undocumented American, living with me, my son, and my new partner. Terrified mom will get the CV19.

Started WFH full-time last Friday, started refusing to attend team meetings several days before that (well, I did attend remotely though). Our schools started soft-closure basically the same day I started WFH. It’s been a real challenge to watch the amazing school staff struggle to get up to speed with the digital tools, while trying to coach my 10yo through learning them, all while still trying to work — often with coworkers themselves who don’t know the tools either. My 10yo is being forced to grow up a bit quicker than he was naturally: “son, you HAVE to check your email every morning, again around lunch, and again towards the end of school hours”… “son, did you see my google-chat? your teacher sent an email to me asking you to be sure to enter your reading time into the spreadsheet-tracker”… “son, you have to manage staying on-schedule but not also burning-out; how about after you complete an entire subjects’ worth of assignments, take 10min to play a video game or read or go outside and sit with your cat? You have to self-care too.”

Meanwhile, mom is self-isolating to her 10sqft bedroom or her own bathroom. When she needs food or exercise she only goes to the kitchen or basement when we aren’t using them, wipes everything down beforehand, keeps all windows open, and we avoid coming within 6 feet of her.

It’s surreal, and challenging. There are occasional indications from work that our old 60+ year-old leadership isn’t quite in-tune with our WFH problems, would rather we are in the office, and don’t understand why we are struggling to put in a solid 8 hours of active time.

Then, an earthquake hit us on Wednesday. Right in my back yard, basically. Shook us up pretty good, and continued to do so throughout the day. No damage to our home, thankfully, but it was bad enough that we spent the rest of the morning loading the back of the truck with essentials to bug-out if the aftershocks grew worse instead of better.

If “the big one” that Utah has been long-overdue for were to hit right now, I absolutely cannot afford for mom to have to live with us in a school gymnasium. That would be a CV19 nightmare for 60+ year olds! Meanwhile, our valley has exactly 3 ways out: 1 into another valley with a million+ people, 1 through miles and miles of 1-lane mountainous roads… both of those would be hit hard by a big quake and likely be dangerous if not blocked… the final exit, through the desert to another relatives’; but if we didn’t rush to get out first, we could be hemmed-up in a traffic jam.

Thankfully, the after-shocks have chilled-out.

I had to cancel 2 D&D sessions that were scheduled at my house this weekend: 1 with my son’s friend and his dad; another with my friends from work — because we always play in-person and we haven’t had the time yet to look at the online-tools and decide how to go about the online. Our next sessions are about a month out, I’ve got to start looking at those tools!

My ex-wife lives just across the highway from us. Her fiance got placed on WFH thankfully but she initially did not. She became VERY ill, coughing bad, serious weakness and lethargy, but no fever. She avoided visiting our son for several days and finally called into the CV19 hotline; they had the gall to tell her that because she does not have a fever and has not come into contact with any CV19-infected person, she does not have CV19. Uh-huh, right; as-if Utah is testing and/or the symptoms from everyone are noticeable and always include a fever; what a crock of horseshit! Children are often huge vectors of disease, and CV19 usually doesn’t even exhibit symptoms in them, so it’s scary to have him living here with my mom; but how can I ask my ex-wife not to see him, when the authorities cleared her? I can’t. I can only pray in a personal god that I don’t believe in (to be clear, I do believe in god, just not one that’s paying much attention to humans).

Meanwhile, our outdoor cat stalked a bird in our backyard a few days ago and caught him; that was an incredibly fascinating thing to watch! That’s the sort of god I worship, the Deist god of nature. It was a really amazing thing to watch him pull that off. For the bird-lovers: he is fenced in really well, hasn’t been able (yet) to get out of our yard, and I *DO* in fact have a noise-maker on his collar. If he were killing more than his fair-share of birds, I’d look into more draconian solutions to curb it. But the way I see it is, he’s a cat, he’s entitled to an occasional triumph. I love the birds too, but their numbers where I live are insane and a little curbing of their population here is warranted.

I am in the middle of installing a shed. Spent all last weekend getting the rock pad laid down.

We have plenty of food that we’ve set aside over the years… not exactly hoarding-level, but plenty we don’t have to worry from week to week. Restaurants and bars are closed here by law but you can still get to-go food. We’ve been trying to do some of that still, to help those employees keep their jobs.

I also had an epiphany this week about why dad (born in 1947) always loved eating the Hostess snack foods so much! Twinkies, etc, are such an incredibly cheap food with loads of calories and a nearly-unlimited shelf-life — I theorize that he grew up with them b/c his parents, coming out of the great depression, saw them as a very cheap way to keep lots of calories around the house. When I went to the store the other day I noticed an incredibly stark contrast in availability between quality shelf-stable foods on one hand (beans, rice, etc) and fresh-foods and junk-foods on the other hand. You have no problem enjoying bananas, lettuce, and twinkies. Rice, beans, and potatoes on the other hand are almost completely non-existent.

That’s who I am, what’s going on in my world, and how I am doing. If too long, apologies. Skip it and move on!

I hope all of you and yours are doing as well as can be expected. Depending on where you live, you should 100% stay home; where I’m at we are being asked to mostly stay home but still encouraged to support our local businesses when we can do so while maintaining social distancing. Today I am going to the nursery to buy a new tree, but of course if the order is to shut down all business and shelter-in-place, I am prepared to support that for the greater good.

Best,
Brandon

David Cain March 24, 2020 at 10:20 pm

Thanks for this Comment Brandon. So glad the quake wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Best of luck.

Daniel Nogueira March 27, 2020 at 11:17 pm

Loved your history, thanks for sharing.
Love this: (to be clear, I do believe in god, just not one that’s paying much attention to humans).

Stay strong,
Daniel

Jessica March 21, 2020 at 11:09 am

I’m Jessica, 36, from Sweden. I’m an oncologist in training, but have background in intensive care as well.
Right now things are ramping up in Sweden, Covid-wise. We have community spread mostly in Stockholm, the capital city, and the larger cities. In the smaller town where I live we’ve had 16 cases, none in need of intensive care.

At this very moment, I’m sitting on the couch with my three year old son. He’s watching a cartoon, I’ve got dinner in the oven, and the husband is on his way home from a run.

Rebecca March 21, 2020 at 5:48 pm

G’day, I’m Rebecca and I live in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia.

The view from my window is of ALL THE WEEDS IN THE WORLD, so I’m guessing if I have to stay at home due to his virus shiz, I’ll have plenty around here to keep me occupied.

Tasmania is the island state of Australia, so we basically have a built-in moat. We “shut our borders” from the rest of Australia a couple of days ago. Probably wise. We only have 16 cases here at the moment.

I’ll most likely have to work from home soon, but I work for a charity that feeds homeless people and rehabilitates those with addictions, so I’m worried that vulnerable people won’t have access to food and that those halfway through their recovery programs won’t be able to finish if we have to shut down our services.

I don’t give a toss about getting the virus myself, so I’m pretty calm about it all. I am, however, pretty bloody ropeable about the behaviour of some people in supermarkets around here. Seriously, if you’d told me a few weeks ago that there’d be an in-store punch-up over toilet paper, I wouldn’t have believed you.

Derrick March 21, 2020 at 6:02 pm

Amen!! Toilet paper thing is silly/ridiculous.

Tatiana March 21, 2020 at 9:54 pm

Hi! I´m Tatiana from Mexico. Here the situation is very uncertain, and due to the government´s attitude towards coronavirus, is probably going to get pretty ugly in the next two weeks or so. Private entities and enterprises, and a huge part of society are locking up and slowing down activity, even when there are no explicit orders from the government. We are at a fix, on one hand hearing the news about the spread of the virus in Europe and the States and on the other, not having concrete policy towards this crisis.
Feeling a little lost….but thankful that people close to me are still in good health and a good state of mind.

Francisco March 21, 2020 at 11:18 pm

Hi Tatiana, I felt compelled to reply to your post, as I wondered back into this site, clicked on the last post and saw someone else from Mexico sharing their experience. I share your concerns, it’s deeply disturbing to see how very little our government seems to be doing in preparing for a crisis of this magnitude even as first-world countries aren’t being able to fully address /cope with. So much of our population in uninsured and depends on their daily income to make ends meet. Social distancing is fine, if you are part of the small percent of people that can afford to raid Costco, and fill up their pantries with supplies for a month. But as people start losing their jobs, they may end up needing to steal food, or worst… Still, the fact that we are *here* means we still have hope. Take care, be safe.

sally March 22, 2020 at 7:01 am

Hi David. I am in Western Australia. Still working, however just today it was announced that non-essential indoor businesses such as restaurants, gyms, pubs and churches will be closed from tomorrow. I will really miss my exercise classes :( .
My work in government is still going and I am still using the office but this could change soon. Our kids are still in school. It is a strange in-between world where some gatherings occur and some don’t, and every day brings some further restrictions. Panic shopping has occurred so there are shortages in some groceries although supplies are available. We have a full pantry and I’m trying to minimise shopping and nurture my lettuce and chard seedlings.

Grateful for secure employment and accommodation and I hope our government supports everyone less secure in these. Hoping the impact of the virus on friends, family and community is minimal but feeling the stress of what may come.

Cam March 22, 2020 at 10:17 am

David, thanks for your wonderful way of bringing people together. I’ve been reading your blog from the beginning, enjoying that long point of reference. It has meant a lot to me over the years.

Hi Raptitude readers! Who knew there were so many of us.

I’m in Berkeley, California. My wife and I were planning to re-locate to some place more affordable, but that may have to wait. She’s finishing her Masters of Public Health in a few months. I’m still working for now, at a local bakery. I make a lot of pizza and breads.

My life revolves around cooking. I make my own bread at home — the kind I want to make when I eventually open my own shop: hearty, mostly whole grain loaves cultured with a natural starter. In an ideal future I’ll have my own milling stones, and grind the flour fresh each time I bake bread. It’s an intoxicating aroma, when freshly milled flour and water mix and combine with a mild, fruity-milky leaven. That will all have to wait. Now is the time for patience.

I’m grateful for my training at a zen buddhist temple. My wife and I met there and each spent about five years doing regular (and sometimes intensive) meditation. In some ways I’m a hopeless wreck, and I’m sure I’ll always be that person. I’ll always come from a dysfunctional family and have an instinct to anger and judge myself and others. But I can say that meditation and practicing in community definitely worked to soften my edges.

I would like to use this time of great uncertainty to treat my fear with compassion, to be generous with my time and resources, to find ways to reach out to those in distress.

On the bright side, this quiet in the streets is truly amazing. I can hear birdsong in the mornings. I feel a powerful sense of being ‘in this together’ with every person I encounter. And I’m confident that we can all rise to meet this. Thanks everyone for sharing.

LuAnne March 22, 2020 at 11:35 am

Hello from Michigan in the US. Thanks for having us introduce ourselves, David. I’ve been reading Raptitude for several years and I attend the very first Camp Calm. My husband and I are retired and all of our kids have moved out on their own. I am therefore not terribly hurt by the pandemic personally, but I really feel for others like the hourly workers and the hospitality industry. My grown kids are much more impacted as two of my daughters are unable to work (science teacher and flight attendant). I have been obsessed with reading the news but I hope to start this new week by writing poetry and doing some painting.

Lynn March 22, 2020 at 12:08 pm

I’m sitting thinking I should probably go to start cooking our evening meal, but looking through all of these windows into others’ lives instead.

I live in Scotland with my husband and kids age 10 and 6. The schools closed on Friday so my husband will be looking after them while also remotely teaching his college students. I’m a doctor so will continue to go to work, though we’re doing a lot of patient contact by phone and video calls.

This whole thing hit me suddenly and like a truck on Monday. I went from calm and going with the flow to sick with anxiety. Barely able to eat and sleep. Not like me at all. I’m feeling better the last few days which I think is partly due to speaking to people, and partly just the healing power of time letting me start to adjust.

I’ve set up a WhatsApp group with neighbours to support each other to drop food at the door of families who are self isolating. We’re all amazed that we don’t know each other better, and hope that a stronger sense of community with the people we live beside will come from this.

We’re still allowed out for walks. People are generally practicing social distancing, but it’s noticeable that this is offset by a lot more smiling and chats with the strangers you encounter.

Thanks for writing this blog, and for inviting people to share these snapshots of their lives. All humans together, all over the world.

Rodrigo March 22, 2020 at 2:25 pm

I am Rodrigo, a brazilian guy with poor English vocabulary, but I would like to say same words: First, I don’t have any idea when I start to read this blog, but I know why I continuously read…It’s like a fresh air come from the window… Maybe it is why I am here in this moment… I need a fresh air, because in my country so many “no human” thoughts is invading our home from the mouth of ours political representatives.
I am home, reading poems, working, washing hands and praying for that people that really is suffering at this moment.

Beth March 22, 2020 at 5:58 pm

Thank you all for allowing me to get to know a little bit about you! My name is Beth and I have been reading David’s blog for quite a while. I’m a nurse living in PA and working at a local clinic. It’s kind of scary. Today I deep cleaned my bathroom since cleaning is a way for me to deal with stress. We are staying inside, but tomorrow I go to work.

Mar March 22, 2020 at 6:30 pm

Hey everyone, and thank you, David, for creating this little oasis of connection and mindfulness.

I am a twenty-eight year old living in Belgium. It’s my boyfriend’s birthday today, so we’ve been trying to find little pockets of happiness against the backdrop of stress and uncertainty. Homemade tiramisu and watching silly comedies have helped.

The stars looked exceptionally bright yesterday and today. I’m wondering if it’s due to less pollution, or just the fact that I took my time to appreciate them.

Although we are not in complete lockdown, going out is limited to going to work/getting food/medicine/medical care. Going out to exercise (walking, jogging, biking) near your residence is also allowed.
Thankfully, I’ve been able to work from home since last week. I realized, however, that I must relearn how to be productive without having someone constantly looking over my shoulder, which means I’ll soon be revisiting some Raptitude posts on procrastination.

I’ve been feeling pretty anxious lately, so I try to remind myself to focus on the things that are in my circle of control.
Like many of you, I am an introvert, so staying inside thankfully feels quite manageable, at least for now. To make myself feel better, I’ve been making a list of enjoyable things that I look forward to for the coming months, like keeping in touch with family and friends, starting knitting again, reading tons of lovely books, cooking new recipes, and following online dancing classes. I’ve also taken advantage of this opportunity to meditate every day, which I had never managed to do before.

I also try to feel grateful for the things I do have at the moment (roof over my head, people who care for me, food for me and my loved ones, etc), because, as we’ve seen, things can change quite drastically from one week to another. “This might not be so”, indeed.

Kathryn March 22, 2020 at 8:18 pm

Hello, everyone!

My name is Kathryn. I’m a freshman in college who’s starting online classes tomorrow. I’m also supposed to start work tomorrow, though I’ve heard rumors that the governor is going to issue a shutdown this week (Florida).

Overall, I feel like my brain isn’t built to process what a “global pandemic” really means. It’s interesting to think that this is the first event that happened during my lifetime (born after 9/11) and that I’ll be old enough to remember in years to come, the way people older than I can recall and share exactly where they were and what they were doing during previous disasters.

My main interests are creative writing and computer science, so luckily isolation doesn’t hinder those, but I have trouble staying happy and productive when my usual schedule is shattered.

Overall, I’m doing my best to make this a time of growth for myself, while also making a special effort to text/call friends, grandparents, and anyone else who I think I could bring some joy to right now.

I hope everyone else is doing as well as possible! Hopefully we all get through this together, by acting with compassion and generosity toward each other.

Heather J. March 22, 2020 at 8:27 pm

Thank you, David, for all your wonderful posts and for this one in particular. I started reading this blog around the time I started my own business, in 2012. I no longer have that business (and am actually grateful not to), but I have come back to your writing time and again.

I am in the American Southwest, and at this very moment, I am lounging on the couch while my husband and 5 year old daughter play a video game together. My elderly cat is curled up near my feet. We are all (mostly) at home right now; while school is canceled and my husband’s company was able to go remote quite easily, I work at a university that doesn’t have the infrastructure for that set up yet. So I am going in to work 2 days a week and working from home for 3 days.

I’m a mom, a wife, a coworker, a boss, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a granddaughter, a volunteer, and someone who is working on becoming a better human in lots of different ways. I find myself worrying about my in-laws and grandfather, my sister who has five children, a loved friend who is a nurse in Denver, and my parents who seem to be defiant about the threat of this virus. I do what I can – by ordering groceries and picking up medications, by sending birthday gifts and asking what’s needed – but know that I can only control myself and my own emotions.

Your last post about gratitude really hit me hard, and I have been trying to practice it every day. As a result, I have been giving more hugs to my family (the ones I socially isolate with!), exercising more patience, making Zoom dates with my far-flung friends, and having more snuggles with my cat. Thanks, David. Here’s to another insightful and kind year on this blog.

Emily March 23, 2020 at 10:25 am

Hi David!
Thanks for asking :) I’m Emily and I’m 38. I live in NW Indiana on the IN/IL border (considered Chicagoland). My fiance Steve and I are going through a lot. We’re 16 weeks pregnant with our first baby, and had a wedding planned for April 18th with a reception at a suite at the Chicago White Sox. Everything’s off, we can’t even get a marriage license because the county offices are closed. In addition, Steve got his dream job up in Green Bay, Wis. and he moved up there March 1st to start. He’s making the 4 hours drive home on the weekends but it’s been incredibly hard to be alone, pregnant for the first time at 38, and isolated. We are both incredibly grateful and fortunate to have great employers who won’t leave us in the lurch financially, but I work at a funeral home where I do the books, and it’s stressful knowing we’re going to have Covid cases in the building. I’m high risk because of the pregnancy and am taking all precautions I can (working at weird hours when no one is around and disinfecting everything), but it’s still a hard situation. My 70 year old parents live a mile away and I haven’t seen them in a week. I want to help them but being high risk myself I need to stay put. We’re anxious about the move, the possibility of getting sick, having a baby, and selling our home with the current financial crises. All’s well currently, but the fear is real.

Debbie March 23, 2020 at 1:57 pm

Hello everyone,
I am writing from outside Denver, CO. I’m working from home in the “garden level” of my tri-level home. “Garden level” is just a fancy word for half-sunk basement. But I like to think I’m not buried in here, I’m grounded with the earth. At least I have a fairly sunny window.

My family is all fine now but it’s hard not to worry that the ‘Rona is going to swoop in and take people I love; particularly my ornery 79-year old father who keeps sneaking out to the grocery.

At least we have wonderful pets – four cats, a puppy and three horses that won’t let us wallow in the morass. My husband, son, and I are thankful for the pets to keep us busy and sane.

I pray that you all stay safe, protected, and sane! Sending hugs XOXOX

Big"L" March 23, 2020 at 3:06 pm

Wow, what a community! I live in New Brunswick (Canada) and have been reading this blog for…not sure how long, more than 5 years.
I am able to work from home and consider myself fortunate. I am an introvert (100%INTP) so the isolation is really no issue for me. We have 2 beautiful daughters, a big spoiled Chocolate Lab, two cats, 7 hens and a sauna in the backyard. I find the hardest thing about this situation is the fact that there is no “end date”! If we new that it would be all over by, let’s say May 20th, then we can set our mind accordingly, but for now, we just don’t know. Love this blog by the way.

Jan Ross March 23, 2020 at 11:27 pm

its about a certain intensity
are we really listening now ?

well, i was already depressed and anxious
stuck there really
things could get worse or better
you know
as they do if you think your life is a story
i really never thought that i could be grateful for worse
but im begining to think
it could happen

last night inhaling sharply, as i wake, in full blown panic mode
no where to run
no one to fight
mental and physical
writhing
..in desperation i cling onto the trailing ends of breath and find myself
lost in the beauty of my nightstand still life, salt lamplit,
greenglass refracting stunning abstraction of light shape colours
i live there for some long moments
it feels like a small healing.
these are the things i really want to share.

Robyn March 24, 2020 at 12:44 am

Emily, congratulations! Such exciting happenings in your life. It is an odd feeling, this limbo of open ended not-knowingness, but you are here, you are loved and you will be okay.
My name is Robyn, I’m 49, married with 2 teenage boys and I live in Victoria, Australia. I’m currently in the ‘snug’ room of our farmhouse, looking outside at the changing colours of nearby deciduous trees. I can hear trucks on the highway, proof that the world has not ended. :) I have just finished my second patchwork quilt and I’m feeling really pleased with myself. I’ll go and start dinner soon, but I wanted to check in and read some of these community comments. I have been reluctant to until now, feeling a little like a schoolkid waiting her turn to speak in the sharing circle, certain that my comment would sound silly. But Emily, you moved me to put finger to keyboard to wish you all the very best.
I think, for so many, there is a sense of grief surrounding the loss of what is “normal” in our lives, but the three most important feelings for me at this time are gratitude (which I have in abundance), preparation (I do like to be organised) and resilience (by reaching out to others, I feel stronger). Thank you for listening. Best wishes to you all. Thank you David. ‘Til next time. :)

Mary-Ann March 24, 2020 at 9:26 am

Hello David,
I enjoy your blog. I live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I write a blog myself on career resilience and carry out career coaching. We (my husband and I) did a major clean of the house yesterday, felt like a great thing to do physically and psychologically. We are able to get out and walk in the neighborhood, keeping the appropriate distance from others. It is so great to smell the fresh air! Lots of losses for me this year as my mother passed. Now this. It has been great though to support my siblings and friends now through things electronically over the last weeks and slow the pace down. Thanks for your invitation to connect! Looks like the picture on the blog is from Amsterdam. Is that were you live? Mary-Ann

David Cain March 24, 2020 at 10:13 pm

Hi Mary-Ann. I live in Winnipeg! Just two provinces over.

The photo is actually in Stockholm, Sweden. I wish I lived in that building.

Mary-Ann Owens March 25, 2020 at 11:14 am

Glad you are in Canada, best wishes to you at this time!! thanks for your work.

Willow March 24, 2020 at 7:16 pm

Hi all,
I’ve subscribed to email posts from Raptitude for a few years now, but this is my first ever comment.

I’m doing my postgraduate studies in London, which is far from home and family. It was a difficult and expensive decision that took some time for me to finally muster the courage to make, but I’m glad that I did it… Because I think I would regret not doing it.

There have been massive changes and uncertainties in UK over the past week because of the coronavirus. Anxiety and fear seem to be common emotions of many Londoners. It has been hard having to go through this without my family by my side, especially knowing that they’re worried about me, but I have been managing! I’m glad for the technology we have now, and how that allows me to contact family and friends regularly.

It is scary to hear about the havoc the virus has wreaked in the world, but I have also been inspired and comforted by the acts of kindness and resilience that have come out of the situation… And am reminded to not just focus on the negatives in any situation.

Take care everybody, and thank you for listening! And thanks for the posts, David! Always enjoy reading them :)

Morgan March 24, 2020 at 8:30 pm

Hey. I’m Morgan from the Canadian west coast.
My partner and I are on day 5 of an unexpected stay-cation. We’re both suddenly without work, but taking it well. It’s been a full day of cleaning our space. We’ve got the laundry done, the dishes cleared, the floors scrubbed, and the cats bathed. Tomorrow, we’ll be tackling the deeper projects of our indoor plants and, well, I’m sure something else will come up. We’re used to being busy people. I’m not sure what we’ll find ourselves up to once our home is spotless.
I’m doing alright. I slowed down my news intake last week after I lost Tuesday to unknown emotional forces. My sources are now my friends and family, which has the added bonus of each conversation having a fair share of surprises. After all, I’m used to having seen most new information online 30 minutes prior.
Could be better though. Now begins the job hunt in a tough market. The goal in this early stage has only ever been to get those years of experience down. That hasn’t changed yet. There’s no sections for self-taught skills on application forms yet, and certification is out of the question when rent takes priority. Only time will tell what happens.
Hope everyone’s well. Enjoy the moment, eh?

Brittany A March 25, 2020 at 12:55 pm

I am Brittany for the Midwest (Wisconsin). Longtime reflective reader who works in construction.

Right now, I have been taking everything in stride and seeing were it leads. I have been seeing this an opportunity to slow down and enjoy getting things that sometimes fall by the waste side because of time get accomplished.

It seems as though the world around me is falling apart with many people I know are scared and/or laid-off because of this after they are just started to get by from the last recession. And yet, I also notice that in the in my large city it is quite peaceful outside without the hustle and bustle.

In all honesty I am okay with the slowing down of life right now. I think it good at least for me.

N March 25, 2020 at 2:54 pm

I’m 29 y.o from France living in San Francisco.
I’m reading this sitting in the sun in my backyard which looks like a junk yard (construction supplies everywhere), birds are tweeting. This experience feels comfortable and reassuring.
My 2 flatmates are also here enjoying the sun in silence, 1 is napping on a bench, the other one doing smtg on his phone.

Louisa March 25, 2020 at 3:04 pm

I’m Louisa. I’m sitting in my home office in Barry’s and my apartment in Eureka, CA. I also live in Guanajuato, Mexico, but am glad I’m not there right now because the Mexican president thinks the virus is a mere passing cold. I’m a writer, seminar leader, coach, cook, and lover of physical activity, especially outside. I live 1/2 blocks from our bay, where I love to go out on my paddleboard.

I’m doing fine, that is, I’m not anxious. Fortunately at 68 I’m semi-retired and although I loved to earn, I have enough savings (even with the market collapse–one way I reduce my stress is by NOT looking at stocks!!) to get by. I very much hope the pandemic will be a permanent game-changer for the world. I’m not optimistic, but I’m not totally pessimistic either.

Klara March 26, 2020 at 6:03 am

Hello David and everybody else.
I’m Klara from Prague, Czech Republic. I’ve been reading this blog for years, and for the most part I identify with every word David has ever written. It’s reassuring to know that others have a slightly different, less conventional view of life.
We’ve been under “quarantine” for 10 days now, across the country. We can still go out for groceries and other urgent needs, and people are still going to work, though many have home office. We can also go for walks in the park or better yet out in nature away from the city. It is mandatory to wear a face mask when outside, and there can be groups of no more than 2 people in public places (except families). There is a major shortage of those here, so people everywhere have pulled out sewing machines and started sewing home-made cotton face masks for themselves and everybody in need. Restaurants have been closed for over 2 weeks, most are offering take-away service and we try to help by grabbing a bite from our favourite venues every now and again.
For me personally, not that much changes. I’m a freelance translator and I’ve been working from home for 20 years, so apart from the lack of occasional pub life and outdoor activities, I’m pretty adapted to the situation. There is still plenty of work.
I try to avoid reading the news and watching TV, because it seems that all the information is grossly distorted, fragmented and generally useless, except to cause panic and fear. I have mixed feelings about whether or not it’s all being blown way out of proportion, but I’m pretty sure it’s the end of the world as we know it. Whether in a good or bad way, I’m not sure.
I hope everybody here and elsewhere stays safe and sane, and will keep reading others’ stories :) Good luck!

Annika April 1, 2020 at 5:47 am

Hey Klara, David and everyone!
I am also in Prague, although I am originally from Germany. I am in my small but super cozy apartment right now, the sun is shining and things are looking OK outside. I’m about to sew my own masks as well. Have been getting by with using a scarf, but that is uncomfortable in the long run. I am very proud of this country at the moment. The Czech Republic reacted super fast to bring in strict measures, and it has paid off. We have very few deaths and the hospitals are coping ok compared to other places. Although I am not sure I will ever get used to not seeing people’s faces and just looking at masks. Feels like a perpetual bank robber movie.
I only discovered your blog recently, but am loving it!
Cheers, Annika

Peggy March 26, 2020 at 5:22 pm

Hello David and other fellow humans!

My name is Peggy, I’m 49 and live in Maple Ridge BC. I’m an ESL teacher with a husband, 2 kids and a crazy beagle.
This all hit us right before Spring Break so things don’t seem too strange yet for us… although my husband is working from home, which is new.

We are doing all the recommended things… getting outside, exercising, walking our dog (or pay the consequences!! :)) and only going to stores when absolutely necessary.

We are definitely connecting more as a family with less distractions – which makes me happy.

I find if I start ruminating on the future I get anxious and a bit paralyzed so my motto right now is: One day at a time. One foot in front of the other.

I’ve been listening to podcasts and doing housework. I’ve even scrubbed my kitchen cupboards and walls yesterday!! ???

David, I can’t recall how I found your blog but it was maybe a few years back and then I found it again just recently and decided to subscribe. I like that you are Canadian and you seem to have values similar to mine. I am enjoying this opportunity to slow down and go within and listen to my inner voice.

Stay well, everyone. Virtual hugs. xo

It’s nice to know not everyone out there in the world

Beth March 26, 2020 at 8:51 pm

Hi, I’m Beth in Dunedin, New Zealand. I’ve been a long time reader of this blog, which I got onto through a friend. I now regularly recommend it to others!

I was on an Outward Bound course last week, in nature, without connection to the digital or outside world. When I turned my phone on, I found out how Covid-19 has spread throughout New Zealand, and the next day the Prime Minister announced we were going into a full lockdown. It was such a shock, because when I went on the course, there were only 6 cases in New Zealand, all related to international travel. I never imagined a lockdown could even be a thing!

I quit my job last year to spend a year travelling and volunteering, so had to find a place to spend the lockdown. I was planning on leaving almost immediately on a 3-month trip to the UK and Europe to see family. I raced nearly 800km to my parents’ place here in Dunedin where I’ll be for at least the next 4 weeks in lockdown.

I’m just catching up with emails now, and love this idea of a blog being a community, rather than a megaphone.

The future is now so uncertain, but there are many skills from this blog that can help us through!

Maret March 27, 2020 at 4:46 am

Hi, I’m Maret from Tallinn, Estonia. I’ve been reading Raptitude since 2014 but this is the first time for me to comment.

I’m an artist and mother of a 1st grader. I’ve been extremely lucky to just have finished some of the projects that needed me to be physically present. It is quite usual for me to work from home and in that sense the introvert in me is happy.

For the last 2 weeks the schools have been closed and I’ve been amazed by my daughter’s class teacher. She is just 20-21, a student herself. Yet she has been so supportive, well-spirited and prepared. Every morning they start with a video, go through the tasks and discuss difficulties. These are 7-8 years old kids who just got their first e-mail addresses. My daughter just handed in her homework on her own on Classroom. (A platform not even in her mother tongue). The only thing that wears me down is being available all the time. But that’s a minor issue :)

Sharon Hanna March 27, 2020 at 10:13 am

Hi Maret! My co-worker was to visit Tallinn and had to cancel her trip. How nice to hear from you here. My father was Latvian, his parents born in Riga. I’ve always wanted to visit….the architecture etc. must be so amazing. Let’s hope we can all do a very modest bit of travelling in the future. Best of luck to you.

Maret March 29, 2020 at 7:22 am

Thank you Sharon! :) It is definately worth a visit, both Tallinn and Riga. All the best to you too.

Marvin March 27, 2020 at 5:11 pm

Ciao, tutti.
I’m living in San Clemente, CA. Nice little beach town with a beach that is now closed. Great beach trail which is also closed. Cute little downtown, voted #1 main street by someone, somewhere, also closed. But good news…one of our main street restaurants is still cooking AND, get this, you can also get a margarita to go!!! So, for that reason alone, perhaps. Things are looking up.
Personally I’ve been able to do most of the same things I usually do but less. I like that. Less really can be more when it’s nice focused time. My work as a kitchen designer is a fairly solo activity anyway. I have my own business and a showroom where I am the sole proprietor so 6 feet of separation is pretty easy. 3-4 hours in the office does it. Then I have time for home stuff. Long neglected projects. You all know those. The things you know you should take care of but after working 8-10 hours during the day you really don’t have much enthusiasm for doing them when you get home or even on the weekend. Afterall, that’s your day off, right? Well, when the work day is short (and the weather fantastic) it’s not so hard to get into it and actually enjoy doing it. For me that has been sanding and filling, priming, filling, sanding, for priming and sanding and filling my two garage doors. Jealous? I didn’t think so but it’s actually been enjoyable. Not just the results, but the process. Dusty stuff, tiring pushing a belt sander and hand sander over 7′ x 18′ of garage doors. But, kinda fun. That’s the great thing about having time and with fewer things to fill it. I’m not thinking about all the other things I could/should be doing. Those all got done in the first 4 hours of the day.
There’s more time to read, to write. Like this. Time for chai in the morning with my wife. Time and energy to make lasagna for dinner. There’s time to clean parts of the house that haven’t seen a dust mop or rag in, God only knows.
Finally, this seems like the perfect rehearsal for retirement. I think I’m going to like it.
Be safe, be smart, stay well and enjoy the time.

Daniel Nogueira March 27, 2020 at 11:12 pm

Hi David and readers.
My name is Daniel Nogueira, I’ve been a rapitude reader for over 5 years now. In fact I don’t remmember when I started. Anyways..I currently live in New Zealand. My home in the past 5 months have been my tent, holiday parks, and wilderness hut, as I have been walking the 3000 kms of Te Araroa Trail, a Thru-hike in New Zealand, from its northernmost point Cape Reinga to southernmost Bluff. I was 400 kilometres away from finishing when the Jacinda announced bring the Alert Level 4 in response to the Covid-19 and a minumum of 4-weeks self-isolation, stay home policy. The recommendation for trail walkers was to find somewhere safe to stay self isolated and dont continue the walk. So that’s where I did, I paused my walk and will wait until things are ok that I can continue and hopefully finish the walk. I guess it’s all part of the journey.
If anyone is interested in some stories from my trail, they are on my instagram: https://www.instagram.com/daniel.anogueira/
Stay safe everyone

Louise March 29, 2020 at 6:56 pm

I’m a British 31 year old woman living in Bend, Oregon. I’ve been reading Raptitude for years, but I think I’ve only commented once or twice. It’s the only blog I ever bother to read. I’m an ecologist, a museum curator, an animal lover and a traveler. I value compassion above all else. Looking up from the screen, I see my lovely, patient husband, I see my two sweet dogs, I see a beautiful yard filled with pines and signs of early spring. The first Stellar’s Jay of the year appeared at the bird feeder this morning, making me unspeakably happy and grateful. Today, I made a conscious effort to be happy. I did a virtual run around my neighbourhood with an old friend. I did some yoga to Beatles music! I made soup that made the whole house smell like herbs. I walked the dogs with my husband and we stared at the river that flows on regardless. I did not look at the news. I feel better.

In my community, I see people grappling with this new reality. I see a community based on tourism, and on outdoor recreation, now dealing with loss of employment and the closure of trailheads. Our State Parks, our forest trails, these are where so many of us find our peace, sanity, and community. I see homeless people unsure of where exactly they’re supposed to go. I see people struggling to know where their next mortgage or rent payment will come from. But I also see people reaching out to help each another, and I’m hearing people express renewed gratitude for the small things.

I am feeling many things, including fear for the future and for all of the different types of people impacted by this pandemic. I am consumed by a homesickness of a depth I’ve never experienced before. I watch the UK news every day. I see the country I love struggling, and I want to be there with my family and friends. I had flights booked to go home in April. I’d looked forward to that trip for months. I’ve lost access to many things I love, but I’m also well aware that I was exceptionally fortunate to have those things in the first place. I’m trying to focus on things I CAN do. I cannot visit beloved family, but I can FaceTime them. I can’t ride my horse, but I can watch videos and read books to help me become a better horsewoman. I can’t swim, or climb, but I can run. I can’t put my arms around a friend who is struggling, but I can text her and send silly dog photos. I can’t take my husband out for dinner, but I can rustle up a great curry for him. I can’t volunteer at the animal shelter I’ve volunteered with for years, but I’ve signed up to be a foster home.

A lot of the things I usually enjoy may just sound like pastimes, but they’re also part of my identity. May I never take them (or the things I still can do!) for granted. Be well, everyone.

Doni Boyd March 31, 2020 at 6:22 pm

Hi David, I’ve been following you for a long time – I’m Doni, retired, on the Oregon coast. Looking around the room – my DH is sitting in his arm chair with his own electronic device! I’m happy to say, after 5 days of rain, the sun is shining and we have blue ocean to rest our eyes on. I’ve been basically self-quarantining myself since the first of March. I’m a quilter (and face mask maker) but have a little cabin fever going. It’s much easier to stay in place on sunny days! Thanks for your words of wisdom. Stay safe, everyone. doni @ Oregon coast

Alan April 3, 2020 at 2:34 am

I’m Alan and I live in London, right by the river Thames.
Normally a great place to live however a very strange atmosphere now, from being very quiet generally and when out walking feeling a very peculiar (but not surprising) sense of not wanting to get anywhere near anyone – a good thing now but hopefully will pass when the time is right! Shops are a very uncomfortable experience now, just incredible how things have changed in just a few weeks.
Overall though positive about the future once we get through this, hopefully not as long as some think.
So take care everyone,
Alan.

Jonas April 4, 2020 at 6:34 am

Hi David and everyone!

I’ve been reading for about two years now, I think. Always getting something valuable from your writing, even when I get to read it a couple of weeks after the email landed in my inbox. I think this is only the second or third time I comment, though.

I’m sitting in my spare bedroom/office in London, the sun is shining through the window, warming my back. In the living room, our new kittens are going crazy, playing with a feather toy and I’m catching up on reading with a big glass of water. I’m thinking about the (once-daily socially-distant) walk we’re going too have in a few and things feel pretty much like a normal Saturday.

Though it really isn’t. Emotionally I’m thrown back and forth between two extremes. On the one hand, I’m loving the community efforts to keep everyone safe, the heroes in the health services, and found a lot of gratitude about the people in my life and the privileges I have. It’s been so heartwarming to see the whole world get so much closer.

On the other hand, I’m really upset. Upset that we’re freaking out about a “stronger flu”, mainly because it impacts privileged white people (like me or my parents). There are way more important health challenges out there that kill more people every year, but we choose to ignore them because we have them “under control” in Europe and North America. Upset because we only talk about lives saved from Covid-19 and not about lives lost because of the lockdown measures. (A bit simplistic, but I didn’t want to get too wordy)

I guess it’s the inability to do much, the social isolation that is challenging. All we can do is wait, but we don’t know when the wait is over or if the waiting is going to to have the impact we hope for. And even as the introvert, that I am, I like a bit of human contact every once in a while…

So I’m trying to stay away from the hyperbolic statements the media make about everything, while still getting a little update on what’s going on in the world. I connect with friends and family, do yoga and workout classes with my friends on Zoom and keep myself busy baking sourdough bread and cooking healthy dinners with whatever we have in the pantry.

And then I realize I’ve been caught up in my brain again, feel the sun rays warming my shoulder and remember to get back in my body. I’ll finish writing this post, have a (late) shower, and go for a walk, trying to smile at as many people I can. From a safe distance. It’s spring outside, the cherry trees started to blossom this week and it’s getting warmer. People are playing in the park. Scattered in their little safety-bubbles. It’s almost like a normal Saturday.

Anne April 6, 2020 at 11:56 pm

Hello,
I found your blog today. A friend had shared your article “Your lifestyle has already been designed” on social media… And you put into words what I hope our world can be like after this pandemic. Now I’m am perusing other articles, and again I am really appreciating your clear way of presenting life .. I never comment on blogs.. ever! Until now actually.
I’m doing fine. Alive and safe. Literally just drove across Canada amidst these covid days, from BC to Ottawa. Took me 7 days (I’m a slow driver and like stopping to make coffee…). Lost count on how many signs in the country which told me to stay home. But unfortunately, my work has been cancelled for the next couple months, and the boyfriend broke up and went back to his country. Had everything I needed in the car to self-isolate on the road, so I took my time, enjoyed the views, listened to CBC radio news and just stopped for gas. I think the most difficult thing right now is dealing with this breakup without being able to hug my friends and not being able to do the sports that keep me sane. I’m also wondering how long the borders will stay closed as my heart belongs in Europe.
Other than that, thanks for asking. And at the end of the day, if we just put things in perspective a little bit… Everything could be worse.

David Cain April 7, 2020 at 10:16 am

Welcome to Raptitude Anne! I can imagine that was a very strange roadtrip.

Lorenzo April 18, 2020 at 7:23 pm

Hi David – I discovered your blog from a link on Kotke (I believe) a few months ago. I check it on and off when I have time to spend reading a few of my favorite blogs.
I really enjoy reading your writings and I appreciate your serene life approach. Too many times I let things getting under my skin too much: from silly things at work, to the news, the current surreal covid world we are in now and the yet more crazy tweets of the guy in charge. I wish I could just ignore all of it and put things in perspective (health, family, friends). So reading your blog helps me “reset”.
I am an Italian living in Michigan for the past 20 years or so. This crisis has made me feel more Italian than ever: I am proud of the dignity that my fellow Italians have showed throughout this ordeal. I got closer again to so many people that I had forgotten or lost track.
You stay safe – we need your writings

David Cain April 19, 2020 at 12:30 pm

Thanks Lorenzo. Stay safe!

Karen April 19, 2020 at 12:58 am

Hello David, hello readers.

First time comment. Sporadic reader, frequent lurker and I have posts to catch up on. Your depth year post caught my attention.

I’m living outside a main British northern city, moved to a ‘new to me’ quieter area to help with work and an older house, newer home.
I’m still learning about my local community. I don’t have ties to it as such.

I’m classed as a key worker. I have to go into homes and check upon families and children, checking they are doing ok.
Ok with their relationships and coping strategies.
It’s scary times.
They are not the safest of homes and I do wonder about the risks to the inhabitants, the risks to my staff team visiting without any protection and all other effects that Covid -19 has impacted like how our economy will recover.
Will life change or return to how we were as the danger passes?
I haven’t slept much tonight. Worrying.
I’ve been self isolating for the past week. Cold symptoms and possible Covid symptoms.
I’m taking each day as it comes. Coughing and hot enough to sweat or feel chills and have teeth chatter. Not enough temperature to hit an official fever.
I’m amazed how little I can do and how quickly time can pass. Days blur. Trying not to beat myself up for not being more productive.
A nurse friend dropped off an unasked for but most welcomed and appreciated fresh food shop yesterday.
So it’s gone 6am and I’m in bed, typing with the sunlight filtering through the bedroom curtains to light up the room, rather than the light from my phone screen.
One window slightly open.
I can faintly hear different birds and their songs. An occasional rumble of a passing car and it’s engine.
Soon I’ll get up and start my morning making a cup of tea.

I miss my dog whom I inherited from my travelling brother 3 years ago.
I’ve lent the fur-ball to my elderly parents to give them an excuse to leave the house and because of my work.
They’ve had him for almost a month. He’s loved wherever he stays and enjoys being spoilt. I miss the weight of his head, pressing on my lap.
His expressive, sweet chocolate brown eyes. His little trot and playful, loving nature. He reminds me at times of Gromit from Wallace and Gromit.
I didn’t consider myself to be much of a hugger or a physically demonstrative person.
I’ve missed seeing and hugging family.
Giving co workers a friendly pat on the shoulder or a squeeze.

I’ve quickly gotten used to the social distancing in public shops and local food stores. Seeing ghost towns empty as I work.
I’m sometimes fed up of always cooking for myself.
I’m curious about the impact this will have upon the earth as a planet.
Will less population, less travel and tourism impact positively in other ways , environmentally rather than economically?
Will it make us as humans consider ourselves to be more as guests and act in more considerate ways?

I’ve never grown my own food.
The beef farmer who posted earlier about planting vegetables has planted a seed that maybe I could pick one or two items to try to grow for myself.

I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s posts as well as your own.
Stay safe. X

David Cain April 19, 2020 at 12:33 pm

Thanks for this window in your your current moment Karen. I’m also wondering about the aftereffects of the COVID era and my hope is that they are largely positive. We’ve all been shown our mortality and the delicate nature of our economic systems, and also the way we can work together and adapt.

I hope you make a quick recovery. Be well.

JessicaPixie May 10, 2020 at 1:43 pm

Hi,
I actually *just* read this email, as the last 3 months have been a whirlwind of change for me, and I was checking up on my raptitude newsletters, which have brought me a-lot of comfort for the last year and a half.

I liked the idea of adding my experience to the comments, even if I am a little late; I’m in upstate NY and I am an artist and art teacher. I have been teaching remotely for about 2 and a half months now, and the general stress level energy in this particular state has been incredibly intense. Having close friends in Brooklyn and people I love who are immunocompromised has been nerve wracking. It does feel like it is easing up a bit, but the massive amount of deaths; the massive layoffs and financial strain, the general malaise of not having seen or hugged anyone since early March has been humbling.
Food shopping is always a huge project, worrying about family members all over the country; especially in places where states are opening up despite warnings, all of this has been unprecedented.

I do wonder about the after effects of this experience and how we will re emerge. I want huge meat plants to permanently end, and small farms to thrive. I want us all to be kinder to each other. I want scientists to be respected. I want to really appreciate being around people.

As an introvert, a part of me is anxious about our own reopening in NY, and a part of me has been ok with not having any obligation to go out. I feel fairly comfortable in online spaces, and enjoy teaching in creative ways online. I have piles of books to read, and art to work on. That being said, board game gatherings, short road trips, and just being in the same room with someone is deeply missed by me.

It is comforting to read all the comments and to add to the conversation.
I saw a local post in my own community about a historian asking for people to send in their experiences for posterity, and I think that is really cool. This is a really epic time, and we’ll all remember it.

Thanks for the newsletters David.

<3

Chelsea May 13, 2020 at 1:21 pm

I’m Chelsea. I’ve been a Raptitude reader for a long time, but I’ve never commented. But this site has been helpful in keeping my brain philosophizing while stuck at home, and I wanted to participate!

I’m 28, married with two young daughters. I’ve been working from my unfinished basement since March 18 and my desk is set up about 15 feet from my husband, who has been remote working for even longer. I’m very lucky to have in-home childcare (in my home) so I’m not losing my mind trying to take care of the girls and work. I’m a commercial property manager in CO and many of my buildings are still open, although some were completely shut down a couple weeks ago. It has been really sad at times communicating with tenants who aren’t able to pay rent. I’m still expecting many businesses I’ve worked with to fail, and there’s nothing any of us can do about it. My job as the landlord-tenant go between is hard in that way right now.

On the positive side, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve driven a car in the past 2 months. I’ve been able to put my baby down for her naps every day – something I would normally miss 4 or 5 days a week. And she started crawling and standing since we’ve been quarantined! These are big life things I’m happy I didn’t miss. I’ve actually made some new friendships since coronavirus started, and I’ve reconnected to high school and college friends I haven’t seen in 5-10 years. It’s like we needed collective permission to celebrate birthdays or holidays or Wednesdays on a screen instead of in person. But doing so has opened up those celebrations to people who normally wouldn’t have been invited, and that’s really special.

Most days I keep a regular routine. I wear leggings as pants every day now, but I still get dressed for work, put on a little makeup, have my morning coffee, etc. We do a team check-in on Zoom once a day just to see each other’s faces. Most of the time I feel like this is “normal” life. But every once in a while something hits and I have a day where I can’t believe this is reality now. It feels so surreal that just a few months ago everything was different. So sad that my 3 year old can’t play on the playground or with friends. I want to capture this moment for my kids but I haven’t been able to bring myself to “get it out” yet. I’m still processing. I think I will be for a long time.

I really appreciated the pantry experiment. I’m proud of how well I’ve been meal planning and shopping; sometimes it feels like just feeding yourself and your family these days is a miracle. We’ve been having a variety of foods, making sure nothing goes to waste, and trying to use up groceries we’ve had for a while. Many people I know are ordering curbside or delivery, but we have only had TWO meals this entire time that were not homemade. That would never have been the case before and makes me feel like supermom. I’ve found joy in cooking that I didn’t have when I spent an hour each day commuting – life feels less rushed now, I think.

I hope everyone finds new ways to connect with each other and themselves in this time. It’s not like anything we’ve gone through before. I’ve heard it described as a “collective trauma.” But I hope we just look back and see it was actually a time of “collective change” – for the better. Stay safe everyone!

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