As I’m writing this, it’s the first Wednesday after restaurants, bars, and other leisure time businesses had to close their doors until further notice. Only it feels almost like a weekend. Because my husband is home – but he is teleworking. And his working inspires me to work on my “stuff” even more. I have submitted another German manuscript to Amazon today and hope that at least the Kindle version will be available soon. I have contacted another author for an interview to write a story about her. I have messaged, emailed, revised and written like crazy this morning. And now it’s only noon. And I’m feeling great.
Do I have everything at home that I need? I guess. I didn’t hoard toilet paper or noodles. We have been volcano-earthquake-prepared for years. We haven’t ever been hoarding because the stuff gets old, too. And then you are stuck with using it up all at once – or causing a flood of waste. I have a well-stocked kitchen pantry, too, as I love cooking (you all know that by now). And so far, I haven’t run into shortages of anything I needed. Or thought I needed. Or was made thought I needed.
You may ask whether I’m not scared? Let’s say I consider myself duly worried. I have canceled all my meetings with friends – I would feel horrible if I had the virus unknowingly and gave it to them. As I am not really a social butterfly out of habit, there weren’t too many meetings anyhow. So, I consider it was easier for me than probably for a lot of other people with busier social schedules.
My mother raised me to washing my hands. Often. Whenever I came into the kitchen to handle an item there, I had to wash my hands. Whenever I came into our home, I had to wash my hands. Whenever I used the bathroom, I had to wash my hands. Whenever we sat down to eat, I had to wash my hands. Long story short: I never counted how often a day I’m washing my hands – so the hysteria about hand sanitizer and soap makes me just wonder about the general state of hygiene in the so-called civilized world before Corona.
It strikes me how easily things become a habit. People washing their hands more often could become one. Unfortunately using cars’ turn indicators won’t ever make it – the flick of a finger seems to be too much when it comes to life and death on the road, but never when it comes to iPhones and TV remotes. Maybe sneezing and coughing into the elbow becomes a habit too. Unfortunately, nobody tells people that burping and yawning without covering their mouth spreads spittle as well and therefore should be equally prevented. Indeed, yawning is contagious in more than one way. I have tried to find a scientific video I watched years and years ago in Germany about this, but wasn’t able to find it on the internet – so, you simply have to take my word for it.
When I started out as a writer in the US, I was not working on my manuscripts on a daily basis. These days, right after breakfast, I sit down and begin with whatever manuscript I’m working on at the time. Writing has become a habit that holds me in its grip up to eight hours a day – without anybody forcing me. To be honest – it’s more fun than vacuuming the house or sanitizing doorknobs every day. The latter should become a habit – at least it wouldn’t do any harm.
I hope I won’t get too used to having my husband teleworking from home. Because I will hate it once he has to go back to his office again, and the house will feel so much emptier again. Sadly, I have heard about a drastic divorce rate increase in China after the Corona quarantine was lifted from many areas. I should hope that discovering our closest family from up close will create some wonderful new habits. As in having meals together instead of each by themselves. As in playing games and crafting, in making music and introducing each other to new skills. As we are more or less grounded for now, why not “pretend-vacations”? We can look up a country we’d like to visit, study its culture, and learn its language. If we do it well enough – maybe one day we will be there in real-time, making use of what we have learned.
You are right: I am incorrigibly optimistic about what we can do in times that are so challenging. That’s because I have made it a habit to count my blessings and not dwell long on what has gone wrong when and where. I rather wallow in the good stuff. After all, who would choose a dung heap over a bubble bath?! Have YOU counted your blessings today yet? If not, you could make it a habit, starting now.