A month ago, I was in Paris living my best life. Between visiting the Musee D’Orsay, the Louvre, the Pompidou, walking around the Marais and Les Halles, sitting in cafes sipping spritzes and coffee, munching on French onion soup and-of course-les escargots, drinking champagne in Champagne, conversing with the locals en francais, watching the can-can at the Moulin Rouge, seeing the Eiffel Tower sparkle at night, dancing in the nightclubs, visiting Versailles, and finding the exact spot where I last stood 21 years prior, it was all perfect.
I returned to the United States feeling refreshed mentally and physically ready to take on all of life’s challenges with a renewed sense of strength and vitality! What could possibly go wrong?
Cut to today, not even a month later when all of France is shut down and the United States is headed toward the same trajectory.
Yesterday, was my first real day in isolation and I did not cope with it well. As an extrovert who thrives on human interaction and connection, when it started to sink in that staying home and staying away from others is the new reality, a panic settled in. I hadn’t even made it to lunchtime.
This is my life now? It feels like living in some science fiction world concocted by Ray Bradbury. In this new world, science fiction is leaving your house to eat at a restaurant before going to a Broadway show.
After virtual work ended for the day, I went outside to get fresh air and found myself mourning my “old life” and longing for the “good old” days of March 7th when you could still eat pizza on a park bench and roam freely about (which in retrospect probably shouldn’t have been happening any way).
I know this isolation is essential to stopping the spread of the coronavirus. I also recognize my own privilege in this situation as an able-bodied person in good health with a paycheck, full benefits, and a cozy apartment. I’m extremely grateful for these things.
Today, I’m moving forward in this new reality and doing my best to embrace change. I’ve been wanting to spend less money, have more down time, and do more house projects, and I suppose I’ll be able to do them now that all the places where I spend my free time are closed. I certainly wish this was happening other different circumstances.
No matter how challenging, scary, and bleak things become, I look forward to seeing you all on the other side and of course going back to Paris.
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