So, like everyone else right now, I’ve been freaking out a little bit these last few weeks. And it’s possible I’ve been letting some things stress me out a little more than necessary. For example, thinking a lack of having my own clothes where I’m quarantined was, quite literally, the end of the world. On the surface you guys, I freaked out and cried over clothes…which normally I think would be a teeny bit embarrassing to admit, but I think we’re all a little more understanding these days about emotional roller coasters! (Or at least I hope so, ha. Otherwise you might think I’m crazy). But the reality of it was, I was panicked about a lot of other things, and clothes just happened to be my breaking point.
For most of the past three weeks I’ve found myself thinking over and over, I just wish things would go back to normal. A feeling I imagine I’m not alone in. But after three weeks of the wildest ride of emotions I’ve ever experienced, I’ve actually started to become comfortable with my temporary new normal.
But before I go any further, let me backtrack a little and explain the title of my post. Like everyone else, I’m living in quarantine at the moment and am on the beginning of week 4 as of today. But my quarantine is a little different, in that I am unexpectedly quarantined about 740 miles from my actual home.
I came down to Phoenix for Spring Break to visit my family. Now to be fair, I come down here pretty regularly throughout the year to visit and I even have my own room in my parent’s house. (Shout out to my amazing parents for always keeping a room for me to come home to in between my adventures.) But here’s where the unexpected part comes in. I only planned to be here for 10 days. And here’s where the panic part comes in. Every time I come here, I have one singular purpose. Vacation time. I pack one suitcase, usually about 85% pajamas, leave behind all of my school books, throw up that out-of-office message on my work email, and get ready eat tons of junk food while I binge watch as much trash reality TV as my sister and I can fit into 10 days. Essentially, Phoenix is my oasis.
Now, as if sudden quarantine isn’t stressful enough, I realized very quickly that my oasis away from it all was quickly going to have to become both my new office and my new classroom, and I’d have to fit my old normal routine into my temporary new normal world – a revelation I think many of us have had to face and deal with quite suddenly. Followed second by the realization that I have a very limited supply of ‘normal’ clothes for work meetings, and it might be a little hard to do my homework without those textbooks…
So fast forward three weeks, I resolved the issue of my lack of textbooks, bought a desk, a chair and a tapestry and turned half of my bedroom into an office. I’ll be honest, it’s still an adjustment, but comparatively, I’m settled in nicely here now.
So, what happened in the middle of those three weeks that brought me a stronger sense of peace with where life is right now? I remembered something that seemed to have slipped my mind amid the stress. I’ve learned a lot of things on my travels, and one of the most valuable is that if nothing else, I’m pretty damn good at adapting. It’s literally a part of every day life when you’re traveling. And I’ve definitely had to adapt to way crazier situations than what was I having to figure out here. And if I had to take a guess, I’d say you’ve faced and conquered some of life’s pretty crazy curveballs before too.
So for me, I remembered that part of the beauty of travel was learning to be comfortable anywhere I went. And learning to live with a very minimal amount of things. So, then why couldn’t I apply both of those lessons here too?
First, I started by putting some things into perspective. I realized I often travel with less than I can fit into a normal suitcase, I normally do wear the same clothes over and over, and there’s no way in hell my fuzzy pajamas would fit in my backpack without taking up a third of the whole thing anyways. And I managed to survive 18 months like that. So, what’s a few more months here?
But I’ll be honest with you guys, first came that perspective, then I had to give myself a bit of reality check. 18 months, Holly. You lived out of a backpack for 18 months. And you were certainly going out a lot more than you are now! This is not that bad.
Then I realized, I can also change the environment around myself to be more comfortable. And that’s even better than traveling, because in those situations you often have to adapt yourself to the environment, you don’t get to change the things around you! Enter my new temporary bedroom-turned-half-office.
I don’t know if perspective and a change in your environment will make all your worries go away, most likely they won’t take care of it all. But if you’re like me, and the world seems to be falling apart around you, even over the tiniest things (which are definitely not the actual problem) ask yourself, what about your environment can you change? Maybe it’s something small, like buying a new decoration for your temporary work space. (The tapestry above was my little cheer me up buy!) Or maybe it’s adding in 30 minutes before bed of all you, alone time, no family or kids allowed. Then consider is there something else you can put into a new perspective? Like maybe life without a second set of yoga clothes isn’t actually the problem, and even if it was, you’ve lived without them before…
Regardless of what you might come up with, it’s okay to worry about what we’re going through right now. But, worrying all the time could lead to having a mental breakdown about something completely ridiculous. So, as an alternative to that, try and find the little things you can do every day to make this all just a little more manageable for yourself. Hell, maybe even enjoyable!
Until next time searchers.
P.S: If you want to read about some of the other lessons that have helped me stay positive through these last three weeks, check out my blog Lessons I’ve Learned Traveling that I’m Thankful For Now!