Hello from beautiful New Mexico, where the schools are closed and the grocery stores empty. Oh, wait — you, too? Well, welcome to the new normal, for at least the foreseeable future. My son’s job at the community college has disappeared, my husband, the professor, is back to working exclusively from home, and I am once again a 100% online student.
Our family is particularly well-poised for this crisis. We’ve had a couple of years of caution and heightened vigilance thanks to cancer and immunosuppression. And my son, the introvert, says he’s been preparing for this his whole life; but even those of us who enjoy solitude are already suffering a bit. Some of us extroverts, like me, can get depressed pretty quickly when we’re stuffed into isolation. We are calling on old habits and finding new ways to cope.
First, I am practically a professional doomsday prepper. I have my weekly menu in an online spreadsheet, I have printable grocery lists that match the layout of my favorite grocery store, and we’ve already discussed the genius (or madness, depending on who you ask) of my chore charts. If you want to use any of my over-the-top, borderline-OCD, remnants-of-childhood-trauma forms to boost your own organizational skillz, I’m happy to share. Just comment, DM, text, or send a carrier pigeon. And no, I’m not hoarding or buying extra toilet paper. If you’ve got some to spare, hit me up, will ya?
My husband, Joe, and I have made a preliminary list of Quaratunes (*snork* you’re welcome). We have a long history of thinking we will share our music, and then get caught up in perfectionism and then forget how to play said music. In the spirit of inspiration (as in, “If they aren’t embarrassed to put that online, I can certainly post something!”) and love (as in we love you guys and want to share and see you sharing), we commit to posting one video every day for the next two weeks. I promise you, they will be imperfect and unglamorous. It’s likely I won’t even be showered in some of these videos. That’s because we want you to post yours, too! Musicians loving musicians!
I just saw this on a post, and I’m sorry I can’t remember whose post it was because I like to give credit where credit is due. Tabletopia lets you play games online with friends! How fun is that? Joe and I have a monster game of gin rummy going to 10,000. Our scorepad notes whose deal it is and who is winning. Usually me. We would love to set up games over Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts, or Facebook Messenger, or whatever format works. We’re also up for team play, where we play games here and you play them there and we pit our combined scores against each other.
I love this one. Do you need a pen pal? Or are you bad at writing letters and want someone to write to you? Send me your address and I’ll write to you! I’m about ready to publish my March Life Quiz, which requires you to complete a fun form and send it back to me. If you want one, lemme know. The additional bonus of me writing to you is that I’m not terribly predictable (nothing for ten days, then 30 letters in one day), so it’s random mailbox joy!
So Much Writing
I’ll try to write a lot more characters a lot more often. I would love to read your writing as well. You can find me on social media things, mostly FB and IG, as well as my blog, katiechristianson.com. If you like what you read, please repost and share liberally, and I’ll do the same for you. I suspect the online gig economy may be at first a bit inundated, but that it will adjust. I’d love to make a living with my (many, many, many) words, and I’d love to boost yours. Plus, time spent reading other people’s work on social media feels less indulgent than just surfing, though I promise to do plenty of that.
Where are you seeing the good stuff happen? In your neighborhood or online? In a virtual campus or social media? Share, share, share. Music, poetry, video, good deeds, helping hands. Let’s flood these spaces with humanity at its best so that when we’re all hunkered down we know the good is still out there.
I’m already seeing so much fantastic stuff being offered—Venmo for musician’s tips, errand-running, food prep, homeschool help. If you’ve got something to offer, share that far and wide. I’ll be letting folks know when I’m running errands so I can pick up stuff for other folks. If you can do the same, just say so. I think it makes it easier for folks to ask for help when the offers keep coming in. I promise, too, to ask for help if I need it.
Getting some exercise
A friend from my hometown has already posted a yoga video and is putting her classes online for free. Joe and I have committed to walking the dog every day for 30 days. If you’re in our area and want to walk at the same time, we can arrange to keep our distance but share some friendship. If you’re far away and want some motivation, we can arrange to video walk together. Post your photos and videos of walks and other exercises. I’m already proud of you!
Our dog, Archie, is a giant loveable goofball. My camera roll is full of him. I will share his delightful sensibilities, serious conversations, ridiculous attempts at catching things, and refusal to eat offered treats. Please do the same. I promise it’s worth the time.
A Willing Ear
If you’re worried or scared, lonely or just bored, you can email, text, call, message, or send an owl. I will respond as soon as I’m able. The stigma around depression and mental illness is high b.s. and I’m here to call it out. I don’t want you to hide under your weighted blanket and wait for the end of the world. I will climb in there with you (metaphorically, of course, keeping in mind social distancing) and hold your hand to help you manage this extra stress. I’ll exchange photo text message threads with you. I’ll mail you a letter. I love you and I want you here with us when this all ends. You matter. Now, more than ever. Stick it out and stay with us. Find me here: firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at Katie Dilworth Christianson, Instagram @bigdealkate, or message me for my phone number.
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