Eight Months (and counting) of COVID-19 Solitude

We’ve all been in this pandemic together. Some of us, like me, have spent it apart. Alone. In solitude. For me, it has been by choice and circumstance. I live alone, I am considered high risk.

In the beginning.

I was on a plane, coming back from a work trip in New York when news of COVID-19 was fluttering around. This was back in January. I was coming out of a ZUMBA class when the first international border was shut down. I work in the travel industry, this was a big deal. One of many, none of us saw coming.

My mom and sister were visiting for spring break. This was back in March. The last time I hugged a human being. I’m not telling you this for sympathy, I have a life-sized teddy bear named Jude. (Pictured above; he gives great hugs.) I’m sharing this with you for a bit of perspective. Hopefully, a chance to save a life.

I started working from home the day after my family went back to Houston. I probably would have hugged them one more time, had I known what was coming. Being the person that I am, I made the best of quarantine. Even on my birthday. I curated different work-from-home routines, FaceTimed friends, signed up for online classes, constantly called family — I was trying to find things that worked. I had to try a lot of things that didn’t. I’d say the first two months were solid. Healthy.

Somewhere in the middle.

When summer rolled around and everyone around me was growing tired of the pandemic, I relied on my anxiety to protect me from depression. It was harder to relax, to take a day off. It was harder to write. There were good months. There were bad months. Months where I wrote more than 10,000 words. Months where I did not move my body for 30-minutes every day.

Ironically, the last time I found myself on this site was almost one year ago. I wrote about my connection to an album I heard, how much it tied things up in my life. Literally titled, Coldplay’s Impact On My Everyday Life, I can’t help but laugh and think how much everyday life has changed since then.

Creativity and the arts have saved me during this pandemic. Books, music, art, writing, movies, television shows. I’ve always consumed stories, this time they hit a little different. Especially books. Reading made me feel less alone in this journey. I discovered I could not run from my creative projects any longer. Now was the time to finally develop the disciple I sought to master.

Hope for the end.

Being the most self-aware person I know, I accepted the season of life I was in without expecting a reward at the end. (This was huge growth for me.) I believe it was here on this site, where I read articles defining this pandemic as The Great Pause. I loved that. (Still do.)

We were all given a chance to get off our hamster wheel in 2020 and try something new, maybe even something better. It’s puzzling to me how there are so many people out there that prefer the hamster wheel — the going back to “normal.” When the veil of truth has been lifted, why do we still choose what we once knew?

As the holidays start to roll around, I keep thinking of the hamster wheel. People are tired of 2020. I get it. If we’ve learned anything this year though, it’s that time really is relative. I’m here to remind you of that. When the clock strikes twelve on New Year's Eve, this isn’t magically all going to go away. There’s still a lot of work to do. The good news is, you still have time to join the pause. To save a life.

It’s the eighth month of solitude for me. It’s November but I don’t feel the need to keep count anymore. I’m present. Aware. Ready to continue my pause. To stay home. To save a life, not just my own.

For those of you who think I’m probably stir crazy by now, let me also remind you that we are still in the middle of a pandemic. There’s no going back to your “normal” right now. You haven’t even taken the time to realize what this season of life has in store for you. To those of you still in denial, I hope the fog clears soon. Maybe, you can still save a life. Yours too.

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Monica Rodriguez

Monica Rodriguez

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I probably have my nose stuck in a book or I’m laughing at my own joke. Always writing. Here, you’ll find reviews & essays. www.loveleemonicaa.com