*Runs into the room panting*

Okay, hi everyone, I’m coming up for air. I thought I would be writing blog posts much more frequently than I have in the last two weeks. Turns out I’ve been just as busy as I was before COVID-19 shut down the world.

Since March 13 I’ve been working remotely. I work in the training and development department of a large multi-hospital and clinic organization so the work has not slowed down, just shifted. I’d already been on a big online training design project since last year, so not much has changed in my daily activities, but I’ve seen things change rapidly for coworkers and have been asked to jump in and contribute to those projects. Not that a global pandemic is ever a good thing, but it’s been interesting to see how rapidly we all started doing things that normally would have taken months and a lot of meetings to produce.

It warmed my heart and lifted my spirits to see how many martial arts schools, both local ones in my city and others I follow on social media, have adapted very quickly to this novel situation. Within days of urges and then mandates from city and state leaders to temporarily shut down all “non-essential businesses,” my dojang had an online portal, a Zoom account (don’t you wish you were the person who created Zoom?), and a schedule of virtual classes that is continuing to fill up and customize. It’s amazing how much you can drill at home in a small space. All those childhood games of “red light/green light” and “Simon says” had me ready for our new way of doing reaction drills just by listening to cues.

As much as I miss my taekwondo classes, I’m following the city mandate to stay home and will ride it out along with everyone else. I love working from home and will be hard-pressed to go back to working in an office. As an introvert and a person who writes for their job, I don’t need or really want to interact with a lot of people to begin with. I don’t miss anyone from work (we’ve been a virtual team since 2017, so Skype calls are a daily thing for me and I don’t really care about being in the same room with anyone), and for now I want to stay away from my normal office space, which is a large hospital. The people working there are the real heroes of this global story, and I need to stay out of their way and just keep providing support in the background.

In a weird, morbid way, I feel like I got my life back. I love being in my home and having the time to tidy up every day and wander around when I need to think. In the mornings I meditate and write right up until 8 AM, practice a few minutes of guitar after I eat lunch, and pick things right back up when I shut off my work laptop at 5. So far, giving myself a goal of writing 500 words a day for the last two weeks, I’ve written over 15,000 words for a new novel (rule of thumb for most books is about 80,000 words) and have made my way through one of my favorite preludes by guitar composer Heitor Villa-Lobos.

Both the freedom I have and the discipline I’ve developed have helped me cultivate my hobbies while still working my full-time job. I started taking an online proofreading course to build up my writing skills for my day job and my new career as an author, and to give myself a skill I can use for freelance work if indeed my job doesn’t survive the zombie apocalypse we’re in right now. I’m staying busy.

And yeah, I get it, many people are in a different situation. I don’t have children (by choice), so I don’t have to deal with homeschooling and entertaining, etc. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home and continue getting a paycheck when so many people are now out of work. I am not immunocompromised. I know I’m one of the luckier ones. I did have a little near-meltdown when I made the mistake of going grocery shopping on a Saturday morning. The decimated shelves made me so anxious and angry at the people who hoarded everything that I decided to live off what I have for a while and go shopping at weird hours. I was born for social distancing.

So do what you need to do to stay healthy and stay sane. I’ve never looked forward to a real sparring class as much as I do right now.


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