Flexing Social Muscles – CoronaLife Day 173

One thing about the social distancing and quarantine…as an introvert, having a reason not to be social has been great. Staying home has worked for me on many levels. I really appreciated not having to run my daughter to her numerous activities, and just being able to hide out in my little nest.

The problem is, introverts need to force themselves to be social in order to keep up the skill. Not having to be social on a regular basis is making my social muscles flabby, as another writer said. I think there is a real risk I will not want to come back out of the house even when it is finally all clear to do so. And I might have forgotten how to have a conversation, as well.

This week I exercised those social muscles a bit. PTA meeting on Monday, orthodontist with the child on Tuesday, handed off info to the new PTA treasurer Wednesday, and picking up my daughter’s school supplies from school and meeting her teacher on Thursday. It’s a bit nerve-wracking, to be honest. I have an anxiety disorder, which has not made the stress any easier through all of this, and it makes it hard to move from a “hunker-down” mindset to a “gotta do stuff” mindset.

I am looking forward to sinking back into my cozy safe haven for the next few days, until school starts on Tuesday. It will be remote, but I expect the first week will be quite the adjustment. For one thing, night owl me will have to start getting up early again to make sure my young one is up and fed in time for check in. Still, while having no routine was nice for the summer, it is time for us to get back into it. Maybe with my daughter having a routine, I will find a groove and start getting some work done again.

Happy September, everyone!

A Present Normal – Lockdown Day 47

It’s hard to believe that tomorrow is May 1st. The month of March seemed to be about 3 years long, but April sped by. Perhaps this is a sign that I am adjusting to the new normal. Or perhaps I should call it the present normal, because the situation is ever-evolving, and there can be no true new normal until we have a treatment or vaccine for this virus.

In my present normal, I am able to indulge my night owl tendencies to an extent, by getting up a couple of hours later than I did when we had to be out the door for school, and therefore be able to stay up a few hours later at night. In spite of this, I really don’t feel well-rested. I am too on edge to sleep deeply and well. My anxiety is strange, in that when I am at a certain level of anxiety, I feel the urge to not sleep. As if my being awake can stave off whatever impending doom I am fretting about. I did this the night Superstorm Sandy blew through, as if my prowling the windows all night long could keep us safe. Apparently, that’s the level of stress I am currently experiencing. If I move into deeper stress, I move into the I-want-to-sleep-all-the-time escape mode. I am not there yet—and hope to avoid getting there.

Also in my present normal, I spend more time than I thought I would helping my daughter with her schoolwork. A large part of that is organizing and time management. My daughter’s organizational and time management skills are non-existent, so I spend a lot of my day putting her back on track and helping her with things she doesn’t understand. I also spend a lot of time feeding her. She eats constantly, but you’d never know it to look at her. Of course, she has grown an inch and a half in the last 4 months, so perhaps that explains the voracious appetite!

The one thing my present normal does not have is writing time. Part of it is because I am doing a lot more work with everyone home. Part of it is “pandemic brain” where a lot of the time my brain is fuzzy and it’s all I can do just to put out fires, forget about creativity. But even when my creative brain is working, I can’t seem to get to putting words on paper. I need some quiet alone time to do that, and that simply does not exist right now.

So hopefully my future present normal will have some time for that. I might have to wait until summer, when my daughter’s school will be out and I won’t have that time issue. But finding that time is my next challenge, the next step toward an inner normalcy, if not an external one.

How are all of you doing out there? How are you finding a new balance in this new world?

The Night Owl and the Alarm Clock

DSCN2510I am a night owl. Some people are sun worshippers, but I love the moon. I find a healing and peace in moonlight I can never find in the light of day. I love the quiet of the night. No phones ringing, few cars driving, no people talking. There’s something about the night that lets my soul relax and frees my mind.

Unfortunately, school is upon us. And while I am looking forward to having my daughter in all-day school for the first time, it also means getting up earlier than I like. This entire last year of preschool, my daughter was in the afternoon class, so most mornings were late-rising, slow-moving affairs. Now we will have to rush through the mornings to get to school.

I realize that rising at 7 AM is not really that early by most people’s standards. My mother rises at 5:45 AM. I have a friend who gets up at 4 AM. When I worked in corporate America, I got up at 6 AM. So 7 AM is not too bad.

Except that I am a night owl and anything before 8 AM seems obscene to my body clock.

DSCN3173My mother insists that a night owl can become a morning person—she claims she did it. I have a 5-year-old, so I have (until this year) been getting up early and at odd times through the infant stage, the toddler stage, and the 2 years of preschool before this one. I can tell you with authority that my body has rebelled every step of the way. There is no morning person emerging.

We are slowly moving Kinder-girl’s bedtime back so she will wake up easier and earlier in the morning. It is having the desired effect—she is waking up earlier. However, I as her mother have not been smart enough to move MY bedtime back yet, so I am suffering the consequences.

This is because my best creative juices flow at night. When the world goes to bed, my brain wakes up. My focus is better and I can fall into my imagination more easily. Perhaps it is because of the closeness of sleep at that time, but I am less inhibited and my inner editor tends to be quieter.

Maybe it’s because night time is for dreaming, and writing is but a waking dream.


Any other night owls out there? How do you cope with living in a morning-person world?


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