I saw a similar post titled “10 things I learned about myself” on my friend and fellow blogger Tanya Foster’s page. I thought it was a fun, interesting and quick read so I’ll try to keep mine short too. Because I’m pretty loquacious I’ll narrow mine down to half. So here are 5 things I’ve learned about myself during the quarantine:
- My life had slowly moved in this direction already. This was probably the toughest thing to admit. Because I’ve been juggling both my school counseling job and my entrepreneurial pursuits I’d already scaled way back on many things. I’d started ordering my groceries online and having them delivered months ago, and I’ve been an online retail shopper for years. I’d also sadly started limiting social activities, as I often had to cancel or I showed up stressed because I still had a ton of work to do. My weekend girlfriend outings had been scaled down to once a month, and even that sometimes didn’t happen. My closest friend had suddenly become Cody- a cashier at Target who waved at me enthusiastically every time I entered and I’d always pick his line no matter how long it was. We’d talk back and forth and make jokes until I was front and center. I’m sure this annoyed the other guests in his line. When the stay at home order was issued I told Cody I wouldn’t see him for a while. “Ok, I’ll see you next week.” Cody said half joking…but he didn’t. It was well over a month before I saw my Target bestie again. Which brings me to number 2…
- I miss my people. As an extrovert, not seeing people in person is hard. I like zoom but miss the energy that bounces off of people. A zoom happy hour doesn’t have the squeeze of a hand upon arrival, the actual clink of a glass during a “real cheers” and the warm embrace of a hug as you exit. I’m not sure how much hand touching, hugging or glass clinking we will be doing in the future but I do hope we get back there. And don’t even get me started on my grand babies. I’ve been watching them grow up virtually right before my eyes. But even the Facebook portal (which I do love) can’t replace their sweet kisses and warm hugs.
Now for the (kind of) good-
- I actually like the mask thing. This one was surprising. I love to smile. It’s kind of my thing. I’ve spent countless hours as a young adult in an orthodontist chair to achieve the signature smile I’m known for, but even when my lower teeth were crooked and overlapping and my ortho asst and friend referred to them as standing room only (hence the crowding) I never shied away from a big broad smile. But you know that corny saying about smiles starting in the eyes? It’s true. That’s where the genuine smiles start and I love looking people in the eyes. I also like the mask creativity. You get to learn a little about people by the masks they choose. And I love learning about people. I majored in sociology in undergrad. People are fascinating!
- I’m not as high maintenance as I thought I was. While I love my hairstylist and my manicurist, I’ve never truly enjoyed the time spent there. I can always think of a million other places I’d rather be, because time always seemed to be an issue for me. And while you’d think this experience would make me appreciate my time spent on hair, nails and visiting the makeup counter, it’s actually convinced me that I’m not really all that concerned with those things. I’ve been pretty content while painting my own nails, letting the wiry greys pop up on my hairline and spending my days makeup free. As a disclaimer-for one I have to admit my braids make the hair thing much easier and two I will always love makeup, but now it’s more of a luxury and not a necessity. I’m much more interested in skin-care now. And while my husband can’t wait to get a couples massage, I’m pretty content to stretch it out on a yoga mat. I like the new less is more me.
- I’m truly an optimist. Okay, this one probably isn’t a surprise but it was tested. Was I happy every single day of the quarantine? Of course not. There were days when I was restless or bored, and I do realize that I’m fortunate in that (knock on wood) I haven’t have anyone close to me physically affected by the virus, though of course I worried about it. But even with the restless, bored or worried days I did manage to find happiness in so many places. I leaned into my online community, which I’ve always had affection for. I spent more time outside, which I’ve also always loved but didn’t make as much time for. We redecorated our outdoor space, which I might not have done. And we even began container gardening, which serves as a physical reminder that no matter where we are planted we can continue to grow!
I’d love to hear what surprising things you learned about yourself during this time too!
Until Next Post,
Xo Tonya Parker
P. S. while I realize that most of this is referred to in past tense I know that we still have a long way to go. Stay well friends!