Honest Life

How the Turntables…

Hard to believe it’s almost May. A month since I last checked in and I was filled with anxiety for the future, but feeling optimistic overall. We took the first steps to get preapproved for a home loan, retained an amazing realtor and started looking at houses. I was going into the office on Mondays just to try to get back to feeling of normalcy and seeing a few faces at a socially safe distance. The rest of the time I was working from home, which wasn’t bad. I was getting into a routine and with the promise of a house on the horizon things were looking like they were going to be okay.

Well how the turntables...have turned. | Office quotes, Office ...
Everything right now

Then I got furloughed from my job just last Friday. I didn’t know what this meant until it was explained to me but basically I am still an employee ( I have possession of my laptop and cellphone still), but they aren’t paying me anymore until at least June 10th. This is a sneaky way for a company to get out of having to pay you when things are slow, and instead making the government do it for them via unemployment. A lot of people are experiencing this right now. I’m lucky that I have an intended return to work date, but I am honestly not holding my breath. I’ll find out in six weeks if I’m still employed and in the meantime I’m trying to navigate Oregon and Washington unemployment to get paid. No surprises that unemployment is generally hard to navigate, but during a pandemic with millions of people applying every week it’s kind of a mess. Add in verifying wages between two states and you’ve got yourself a wait time. At this rate I’ll probably get paid for unemployment when (if) I get rehired. In June. What a mess.

Jobless Memes
The bright side

I am trying to look at this as an opportunity though. The housing search has unfortunately had to stop, but now there’s an opportunity to put more money away for a down payment. In the meantime I get to spend more time with my in-laws, who truly are lovely people. Also there is a cute dog involved. I am spending more time on Duolingo learning Spanish. Just a side thing that I never really could find time for, but now I am just full of endless time. I’m scheduling daily time to write and exercise more. There’s plenty of TV and movies to catch up on.

The bummer is a lot of things are still closed. I’d love to look at this situation as a six week vacation, but when you can’t visit family, friends or spend time in any national parks, it’s really kind of a bummer.

The most important thing I’m trying to do is be okay with not being productive or happy. This entire situation is hard enough without forcing myself to feel a certain way. I think that goes for all of us. I’m sure we are having good quarantine days and bad ones. The most important thing to do is let yourself just feel whatever you’re feeling. I’d love to be productive and positive every day of this hopefully ‘only’ six week period out of work. But I can’t honestly say I will be. There will be bad days. I am sure I can foresee a day coming up where I don’t leave the bed and binge watch After Life season 2 on Netflix (or did I already do that..?). I am sure there will be days when I don’t feel like exercising or reading or writing or learning Spanish. That’s okay.

I’m just going to try to get through this like everyone else – by taking it one day at a time. I mean if celebrities can do it during this time – can’t we ALL? They’re the real heroes.

….

Things could be worse. I don’t NEED my unemployment check to come right this second. I don’t have rent right now. I have money in savings to take care of bills until it comes through. I will be okay. Not everyone can say that right now. Despite everything I am still sticking to my word of the year ‘secure’ and trying to feel that as much as possible. Despite everything we are still secure in this state. We have family to shelter us, loved ones to give us advice and we are eventually employable when all this blows over. I am privileged that this is the case.

That’s all I’ve got. Remember, don’t inject clorox into your veins, the sunlight is not a cure, but if you’re going to go out in it wear sunscreen, and finally just stay safe and listen to the professionals. Now isn’t forever.

Honest Life

Moving During A Pandemic

My word of the year is ‘Secure’. What a year to pick that word to guide my life and decisions. And it’s only March. Something comforting right now is knowing that pretty much the entire world is experiencing the same thing right now. We might all be feeling very different about it, but COVID-19 is happening to all of us. It is effecting our jobs, our routines, our health, our normalcy and yes, our security.

Our original plan was to move back to Spokane, live off my wages from a new job that paid more, have my husband secure a job in 1-2 months and then move out of my in-laws place and into our new home we bought. Oh me from the past, how could you have predicted a sickness that started half way around the world in December would come to effect you directly in so many ways in March?

That new job that paid more and was promised to be super secure in employment? It laid off seven people on Friday due to upcoming revenue loss from COVID-19. While my job seems safe at the moment, if things continue as they have been who’s to say what measure would need to be taken to keep the business afloat. The job my husband was going to get? No one is conducting interviews right now. The house? Probably not a good idea to make one of the biggest investments in your life when your income could disappear any day. And good luck finding a realtor that will show you homes right now. All of this and the worry of being infected and living with three extremely high risk people can become all consuming. This is the least secure I have felt in a long time.

Get outside if you can. It can help immensely.

So much change in just a short amount of time has caused me great concern and anxiety. What semi comforts me is that we are truly all experiencing this together. I am lucky to have a job while I can have one (hopefully for a long time). I am lucky I can work from home and not worry about bringing in a pandemic that I could probably survive, but my family would most likely not. I am lucky I am living with my in-laws. Although not ideal, if I do lose my job I don’t have to worry about being evicted. I am lucky in so many ways that other people are not right now. And honestly, with all these worries, none of them matter if someone gets sick. I am just happy everyone I know and love is healthy at the moment.

The truth is no one knows what is ahead and no one has the answers. We truly have to take this one day at a time and react the best we can to the changes that come at us.

Despite this knowledge, I am filled with dread at times. A dread that feels so similar to what I felt when I first moved to Portland. I’ve talked about that feeling before. That sense of dread and consuming depression. I have almost had it drag me down twice since I’ve been here. I made the choices to come here based on the evidence of security I felt in that decision at the time. Now I am thrown for a loop wondering what in the world I’ve done. However, I do feel more secure to be near more family during this time. It comforts me to know we have people who care for us here that would never let us end up in a bad situation. In a way that confirms some of the security I came back for.

No one knows how long this will last or how it will end. How we will get back to normalcy. If we will. The best we can do is just keeping moving and keeping in touch and checking in with each other.

Google Hangouts keeping me sane.

I’ve found extreme comfort through video apps like Google Hangout and House Party. These have been so good for my mental health. It can be lonely during quarantine seeing the same people day after day. Only leaving the house for walks or grocery shopping necessities. I think it’s important to stay connected to as many people as we can during this.

If you are an anxious person and are feeling all around shit about this experience my advice is to reach out to others, limit your access to the news and focus on what hasn’t changed as everything changes rapidly around us. Another thing is to focus on is what has changed for the better. Whatever you’re feeling it’s okay to feel it. Some of you are happy about a quarantine. You’re able to spend more time with your families, relax at home and keep an income going through this. Other people aren’t so fortunate. There is no wrong way to feel right now. Just feel it.

I wake up and try to think of three things that I am happy about that have changed and three that haven’t. Here were some I wrote down from last week:

Things that haven’t changed:

  1. Recording/editing the podcast
  2. Being able to bake (even though I had to use oat flour thanks to food hoarders – stop hoarding food!)
  3. Checking out digital loans from the library for free so I’m always reading something new

Things that have changed that are positive:

  1. More puppy time
  2. Sleeping in an extra hour on work days
  3. Talking more with friends than I used to

I’ve been limiting my news digestion to 15 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes after dinner. This has been such a huge positive change for me and if you easily get sucked in to the news cycle or it makes you anxious I highly recommend setting boundaries like this.

Overall things aren’t perfect. But is anyone experiencing a perfect time right now? Or ever? we just have to continue to stay connected, not get sucked into anything too negative and feel our feeling as they come. Know they’re okay, validate them and keep going.

Stay healthy everyone.