I’m about 30 minutes away from logging into the opening keynote speaker for the Maryland/Delaware Library Conference. I have attended MLA/DLA for years. I have been on the conference planning committee multiple times. I have been on the MLA executive board. I am as involved as I can be in the association.
I love going to conference. It’s a nice break from my routine. In normal years I get to get paid to stay in a nice hotel, eat good food and drink with librarians. Oh, yeah. There is learning as well. It’s something I look forward to all year. I’m not the most social of people, but it is nice to see my library friends, go to pub quiz, etc.
This year I am getting ready to attend from my couch. There is no trip to a nice hotel. There is no break in my routine. I still went in to the branch this morning. There will be no hanging out with library friends. There will be pub quiz, but I will be playing from my couch. It’s a virtual world these days and I’m really tired of it.
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I have two different ideas for blog posts that I workshopped in my head over the weekend. I was all ready to wake up and write before my workday started. Instead, I seem to have hit a wall today.
I had a good weekend. I took a lazy day Saturday. I did crossword puzzles. I had coffee. I watched TV. I read a little bit. Sunday I did some yard work. Went for a walk. Had a nice dinner. Played Life, my family’s favorite board game. It should have refreshed me and had me ready to go.
Instead, I sit here dreading everything. I don’t want to write anything substantial. The thought of doing work makes me ill and depresses me.
I’ve hit a wall today. Hopefully it is a one day blip. I just need to power through today and hope tomorrow is better.
Life has been different for everyone since mid-March. The changes have been bigger for some in my family than for others.
My wife was already working from home at least two days a week and generally only left the house for groceries and carry out. I think her biggest change is being stuck with me 24/7.
My daughter’s life has had a bigger change. She’s gone from living on campus surrounded by friends her own age t living at home with her 50 yr old parents. She’s gone from in-person classes to online classes. She only sees her friends on video calls.
My son can still go into work on occasion to do outdoor restoration work, but his off-work life has changed a lot. No more ultimate frisbee games several times a week. No more game nights with friends. A lot more TV and video calls.
My work life has changed drastically, but the rest of my life has remained the same. I watch TV, I attempt to read, I walk the dog, I clean the house, and I do yard work when it isn’t raining. So, while work has stressed me out, I haven’t missed out on a lot. This week that changes.
Today should be Derby day. Derby day has become a tradition with me and my daughter. We make sure we are free to watch together, either in person or via text. We watch the horses walk out and make our picks and hope our horse places ahead of the other’s. It is the big, it’s almost summer event for us. There will be Derby today.
This week is the week where I would only have one day at work on Monday. Tuesday was supposed to be professional development day for work where we all gather off-site for a day of training. I would see friends I don’t get to see every day and then we would go out for drinks after. Wednesday I was supposed to leave for a conference where I would stay in a nice hotel on the water, go to trainings, and have fun at pub quiz and other social events with other librarians. Instead, I will spend the week at home again. PDD is canceled. The conference has been rescheduled to October,
This is the first week where I will really feel the lockdown personally instead of mostly feeling bad for my kids.
I am now over a month into staying at home. My last day at work was March 13. My last day driving to work to empty the book drop was March 17. Since then I have left the neighborhood a handful of times for food and other necessities. You would think this would be easy for someone who always said they want to be a hermit, but I’m finding that a forced hermit life is different than voluntary hermit life. I want to be home because I want to be home, not because I have to be home. Here are some reflections from my time:
Isolation is not new for me – The only thing that has really changed for me in the last month is that I’m working from my couch instead of working from the branch. My life before the quarantine was working 9-5, driving home, and then sitting on my couch reading or watching TV alone for a couple of hours until my wife got home. We would eat dinner and then watch TV until bed. We didn’t go out. We didn’t have friends over. We didn’t do much. The big changes for me – I can’t go sit somewhere for coffee for a change of scenery and we are all home all the time. I was already socially isolated. I don’t see that changing when we open back up.
My circle is very small – A friend commented on one of my posts that your quarantine circle is your real circle. The people not in your quarantine circle don’t matter to you when you can choose. My circle is basically my wife and kids. I text my siblings who are in Kentucky. That’s it. That’s who I have. No surprise given the paragraph above.
I envy retired people – I know I am fortunate to have a job I can do from home and that I still have a paycheck. I’m fortunate that I don’t have to work with the public right now. Considering the alternatives, we are in a very good place. I will admit though that I am much happier on weekends when I am scrubbing toilets or doing yardwork than I am during the week when I am working. I think my mental health would be in a much better place if every day was a day working on stuff around the house rather than what I am spending my time doing. That’s not really a change though. I was ready for retirement before working from home. It’s just more pronounced now.
Reading is hard right now – You would think this would be a perfect time to catch up on reading, but I find it hard to concentrate on a book for an extended period of time. I’m finding it hard to concentrate on much of anything right now.
I mainly want this to be over for my kids, not for me – I want life to get back to normal. It will be nice to be able to go out to eat or get coffee out. It will be nice to be free to move about, but as I said above, I didn’t do much of that before. I really want this to be over for my kids. I want my daughter to be able to go live on campus again in the fall. I want her to be able to hang out with her friends in person. I want my son to be able to play ultimate frisbee with his friends again. I want him to be able to go to work and do the things he enjoys. I can live with isolation. I’ve done it for years. I don’t want it for them.