The coronavirus pandemic will certainly be a defining experience of our lifetime, much the same way the Great Depression and World War II were for an earlier generation. It will forever alter our sense of vulnerability and our sense of our country and the world. There may be difficult transformations (for ourselves and society) as we recover, but there might also be bright spots and hope.
Each of us is experiencing this crisis differently based on our geographic location, job status, personality, and a hundred different elements, yet many of our feelings and fears are the same. We are going to be regularly publishing stories from readers that let us see how others are getting through the crisis. We think sharing lightens the burden for us and can help others too; knowing you’re not alone (even when you might be physically alone) can be calming and fortifying.
Please tell us your story here; we’ll send you a BOLD tank top as our thanks.
Here, we hear how a businesswoman from Melrose, Massachusetts is managing with an extra level of stress.
What was your life situation and routine before coronavirus hit?
I’m in the process of what’s turned into a long, highly acrimonious divorce. It’ll be two years June 30th, and legal fees are $75K and counting. Thank the Lord he had finally left the house in late fall last year (after almost a year and a half); I can’t even imagine handling this if he were still here. I’m a self employed CPA, have an 18-year-old son on the autism spectrum and am so much the better because of it.
What is your state of mind right now?
My almost-ex and I are switching off, alternating weeks with our son. Things are actually good with respect to that; my son has generally been handling all of this well. My work has been a circus for the last several weeks between deadline changes, the stimulus initiatives, and very little initial guidance or clarity around those initiatives. Now that that’s all in the works, things are calmer, but I am facing a substantial workflow and cash flow slowdown.
My savings are completely depleted having spent it all on legal fees over the past two years, so I’ve got no cushion, but I’m pretty much taking things a day at a time. I know any struggles will be temporary and have confidence in myself that we’ll all land well once we’re on the other side.
What is your biggest fear/concern at the moment?
I’m not really concerned or anxious. This will be relatively short term and by the end of the year, I feel like we should all be back to where we need to be. In the end, I feel that if I control what I can and manage what I can’t, then I’m getting the best out of myself.
If you’re sheltering with others, how is everyone getting along?
I have my son with me every other week. He’s a high school senior and really loves school, so this has been an adjustment for him, though he’s handling it really well. I’ve been using Marco Polo to stay in daily contact with groups of girls and Zoom gatherings as well. Because my clients have had so much need the last several weeks, I’ve actually been happy to have alone time. We’ll see how it goes as that slows down over the next couple of weeks.
What is your daily routine now?
My routine used to be hit the ground running for work to handle daily fires and crises around all of this. Now that that’s calmed somewhat I’ve made a list for my own self care so I don’t blow things off. I’ve written up a daily workout for my son and I to do together as well. So at the moment, it’s wake up at 6:30, half a cup of coffee, 15-minute morning yoga, breakfast, run errands if needed, work until lunchtime, work with my son on any school assignments he has, go back to my desk for another hour or two. I’m trying to end my workday by 4 this week since I know things will just slow down even more.
What is the most important thing you do for yourself everyday to maintain your mental health?
Time to myself first thing in the morning and contact with friends over the course of the day.
How often do you go outside and for what?
Trying to get outside for walks three or four times a week; otherwise, just quick hits to the grocery store probably once or twice a week.
What’s the first thing you want to do when life returns to some kind of “normal”?
Have friends over.
How do you see yourself changing from this pandemic experience?
It’s definitely helping to slow me down.
How do you see society changing because of this pandemic experience?
I feel like there will be a lot of positives that come out of this. I think people are engaging more – or maybe differently – with each other; appreciating working on a puzzle together or just getting out for a walk. Not taking so much for granted.
What else do you want to tell us about your experience?
It’s actually been pretty OK. It’s given me some good one-on-one time with my son before he moves forward in life and some good one-on-one time with myself, which was sorely needed.