Quarantine Chronicles: Navigating Life Transitions and a Global Pandemic

Have you ever been to Las Vegas and tried to walk “Just across the street”? But then it turns out that even though it looks super close “It’s just over there, I can see it!”, it is in fact, at least a marathon of steps + 3-cross-walk-mob’s-worth of people away? It’s a weird optical illusion that I swear is a clever trick of the desert. And yet, somehow, that’s how April feltso close and yet, so far away.

But I can’t believe April has finally arrived.

It’s so weird to be entering not only a new month but a completely new era within this new decade.

Talk about that new-new.

Well, here we are! In the middle of a global pandemic, shifting to the “new normal”. Are you tired of that phrase yet? I wonder if it’ll replace “aesthetic” in people’s vocabulary?

What’s strangest to me, is that we were already adjusting to a “new normal” when March arrived, so this just seemed to be par for the course.

Oh us? We’re moving to Chicago!

Here we go again...

#TBT to 2014 when the hubs was living the high life in the city and I was visiting nearly every other weekend. Though I tried my damndest to make the move permanent it was tricky to job hunt from another city in secret. I was so junior in my career and exhausted after a year’s worth of attempts, that I finally threw in the towel.

In the end, we landed in St. Paul, Minnesota. And the time we spent in St. Paul was one of the happiest periods in my life. Once again, the Universe had its way of reminding me that everything works out for a reason. Typical.

There’s so much potential for new opportunities…”

This time around we’re going back older and wiser. But somehow I can’t shake the nostalgia that keeps creeping in even though I know the city will be completely different than it was 7 years ago.

Truthfully, it’s not the memory of the city, but the memory of the anxiety around such a big move. There’s so much potential for new opportunities that the air is practically pregnant with anticipation of what’s to come. And that can be really overwhelming.

There’s been so much uncertainty in the world that I was quickly exhausted by decision fatigue and simultaneous information overload. So I gave myself a pause until April to start asking the questions that have been hovering over my head; Where will we live? Where will I work? How will I make friends? Sprinkle in all the tension around COVID-19 and you’ve got yourself a veritable ticking-time-bomb of emotion that’s just waiting to implode.

Deep breaths.

The COVID-19 Impact

Like many of you, I’ve been trying to make the most of this experience. There’s a lot of self-reflection happening. A lot of humbling and gratitude and that’s been major in driving my perspective. We’ve been ULTRA privileged to be able to work from home, without having to traverse the frontlines, and most of our friends and family have luckily remained out of harm’s way.

As a former bartender, my heart goes out to everyone in the industries that are affected. Living paycheck-to-paycheck is stressful and even if you’re the savviest of savers, this sudden onslaught on our economy is genuinely unprecedented and having literally *everyone* sitting around looking at each other collectively wondering, “What’s coming next?” is unsettling to be sure.

I also constantly think of my medical brothers and sisters on the frontlines trying to take care of really, really sick people on top of everything else they’re normally tending to—it kills me not to be by their side providing care in any way I can. But I like to think this is just what the Universe intended (Lord knows that I tried to throw myself into the medical field for long enough ?). It’s made me feel helpless in a way that magnifies that set-back but I’m doing my best to support good causes and stay positive, regardless of my guilt.

I’ve been moderating the amount of news and social media I’ve taken in over the last couple of weeks so I’m not consumed by it all; “I should be out there helping.” is often on repeat in my head. Yet, ironically, the best thing I can do to help anyone is to stay home and not see anyone. These are indeed strange times.

Okay, what about Chicago?

Illinois is on a much more strict lockdown than Nebraska. We’ve been very mindful of social distancing and sheltering-in-place, which means a lot of surfing on the internet. But because the housing market could look much different with all the changes happening, we’ve also been waiting for April to search in earnest.

It’s a lot to try and process the emotions of a cross-country move or searching for a new job when they sit next to a global pandemic on your mental shelf.

Chicago, 2014

Nevertheless, despite the desire to compartmentalize each of these things, they’re so tightly woven that it’s hard to separate one from the other. For example, all the apartment tours we do now are going to be virtual. Which is definitely fine but still weird (smell-o-vision would have been a really helpful invention right about now).

I’m also going to be dusting off the ol’ resumé. That bad boy hasn’t seen the light of day in a hot minute. I’ve been with my company for four years so it’ll be like I’m starting over. I’m sure there’s an old adage about ‘wisdom’ that suits this.

So, what now?

I’ve got a few consulting projects that’ll keep me busy over the next few weeks on top of my normal job that’s significantly slowed in pace along with the majority of the world. And I totally refreshed my website which was a welcome distraction.

I have a lot of virtual home tours to “go” on. I’ll also be mentally planning out how to pack for the move which gives me comfort because I love a good purge (donations are my jam, y’all).

The half-marathon is on hold until the fall because training doesn’t make sense right now. Instead, I’m going to re-focus some efforts on my French language studies. Which (in theory) will be useful when the trip I had planned for May is re-scheduled.

April is a month of renewal and rebirth (#SPRING) and even though it seems like I’ve become a hermit (and loved it for 90% of the time), I’m feeling like I’ve just emerged from a waiting-game-induced haze, and that feels nice. And in times like these, “nice” is definitely good enough.