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Cocktail Hour Playlists and Hope We’ll Take Better Care of Others

We're publishing stories from readers on how they're coping through the pandemic. Marcellina Kampa tells us the ritual she and her husband started and how she hopes society will change.

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 Marcellina Kampa, who is sheltering with her husband in Smithville, Texas, is managing in the new normal.

What was your life situation and routine before coronavirus hit?

I worked as a project manager from home anyway, so that much hasn’t changed.

What is your state of mind right now?

I recognize that I’m privileged and that financially we’re ok. And we are able to purchase what we need. Our house is comfy, our TV is large, we have high speed internet, we don’t have to worry about young kids or elderly family members.

What is your biggest fear/concern at the moment?

Friends and family who are out of work. Friends and family who are alone, and are feeling very lonely and cooped up. Ultimately I’m mostly afraid that we’ll loosen the Stay at Home rules too quickly and loved ones will get sick and spread it before they even get tested or show symptoms.

If you’re sheltering with others, how is everyone getting along?

My husband and I have been married for 33 years, and mostly get along well. But we’re definitely getting on each others nerves and have different opinions about the level of precautions we need to be taking with groceries, etc. And even the understanding of how the virus is spread. 24/7 togetherness is a lot to ask of any couple!

What is your daily routine now?

I still get up easily in the morning, and am at my work desk by 9. Still have client phone calls, but nothing in person. My design team is all remote anyway, so that hasn’t changed. Lots of Zooms with NextTribe and friends and family, definitely help break up the week.

What is the most important thing you do for yourself everyday to maintain your mental health?

My husband does all the cooking anyway, and I’m infinitely grateful. If it was just me I’d eat Ritz crackers and cheese every night. We have cocktail hour at 5:30 out on the patio every night. We’ve started a Cocktail Hour Spotify playlist and add to it every day.

How often do you go outside and for what?

coping with coronavirus Marcellina Kampa

One of Marcellina’s Instagram photos: a backyard lizard.

Only for neighborhood walks, just the two of us. All of our groceries are ordered Curbside delivery. I’m only shooting photos in my yard now, so my Instagram is a whole lotta bugs, lizards, birds, and squirrels. Occasionally lambs and horses and donkeys that live nearby!

What’s the first thing you want to do when life returns to some kind of “normal”?

Go visit my son and his girlfriend and take them out for lunch! Hang out with my sisters for hours in real life. Go back to all my favorite restaurants and tip everyone really well!

How do you see yourself changing from this pandemic experience?

I am much more aware of how vulnerable we all are. More aware that so many people I know have no safety net. I’ve gotten to know my immediate neighbors, gotten more active in my small town, becoming aware of the county level politics, as well as state level. National and federal are hard to relate to anymore.

How do you see society changing because of this pandemic experience?

We have to take better care of each other. Those of us living a privileged life will (hopefully) be aware of it and contribute more to help the poor among us. Work as we know it has changed forever. So has commerce and socializing. This next election is personal. I’m going to work on Getting Out the Vote.

What else would you like to tell us about your experience?

It made me grateful for the work I have, made me glad I moved outside of a large city. Very happy I sold my Austin house last year. I feel like I’ve been very lucky in the decisions I’ve made in the last few years.

By Marcellina Kampa


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