Before the stay-at-home orders in Seattle, Suzi and I were already entering into a new chapter. We were without housemates for the first time in nearly four years. I could walk around the house without pants. I could turn off that extra consciousness that tells me to be considerate if we’re eating out or trying to plan something or which prevents me from being overly silly with Nora all the time. It felt like my house again. So that was already a big change we were entering into.
Sheltering-in-place for the past 5 or 6 weeks has enabled me to be more family-oriented and present at home. I was always kinda torn in the tension between family and getting work done and everything else that I wanted to do. Being at home all day has really catalyzed that prioritization process, and a more flexible schedule has allowed me to experiment with different things that enable me to have more personal time, Suzi to have more personal time, and me to have more time with Nora. It’s definitely constant calibration, but I think we’re making progress!
It’s been a pretty positive time so far, which I recognize may be different from the collective experience of this time, especially for people who are living by themselves, are more extroverted, or are affected by job, financial, or food insecurity. I wholeheartedly acknowledge how blessed I am to not be particularly worried about job security, and for having a job where the leaders in the company have stated that taking care of ourselves and our families comes first, even if that impacts our work and productivity (they’ve also said to just embrace it and have fun with it whenever someone’s kid pops in on a video conference meeting).
We’ve done a lot more cleaning and stuff around the house (there aren’t too many excuses we can use anymore), cooked at home significantly more, and I’ve gotten to spend more time with Nora (and even that looks different - it’s significantly more walks rather than visiting someone or shopping or going out to eat). It’s time more characterized by being than doing.
Nora has been in a pretty fun stage lately - she’s repeating a lot of our words, she recently learned colors and opposites, she still wants to run everywhere (and even uses the foam roller to roll out her legs afterwards), and she has a growing imagination. She likes wearing dresses (even during weather that makes me feel super cold) and sunglasses and just being outside (she’s been helping me weed in the backyard). She’s sleeping a lot better and was having a pretty predictable routine over the last few weeks (though she may be going through something developmental right now). We even watch anime together (Haikyu)!
I ran more than 100 miles in March! I had my first 30 mile week (running sum) in who knows how long. I started seeing sub-7 minute miles show up casually in the middle of runs. I ran so much that I even started feeling pain in places I’d never felt it before (my hips and groin, so I had to take a break and ease back into it). I’ve been running more obscure routes to avoid the assumed busy-ness of Lake Washington Boulevard and the Chief Sealth Trail.
I got a second monitor from a coworker. I was really feeling the limitations of trying to get work done on only a laptop. My most productive times of work have been after Nora goes to sleep, so I’ve had a few nights working until 2am. Most work days have a lot of interruptions, so I’m not quite sure if I’m working any longer than I normally would, it might just be more spread out over the day. That said, I’ve had to learn to lower some of the expectations I’ve had on my own productivity since this all started, because it ends up being frustrating and unhelpful. I’ve often alternated productive days with really unmotivated days, and that’s something I have to be okay with if it happens - I think that’s just part of the ebb and flow of working completely remotely.
We’ve started going to a Southern Baptist church that typically meets in Renton called Church of the Beloved. Some of our friends were already attending there. We didn’t have a super stable church community for about 18 months and we really just needed to be going somewhere, even if it wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for (multi-ethnic and in our neighborhood - arguably, not so much in a consumerist way, but in an ecclesiological way). We were not on a very good trajectory with our past church experiences and communities. Having a church where we have friends and we feel… normal… has been a really positive change for us and a helpful rhythm to have again. The only downside has been that church meetings went online soon after we decided we wanted to keep going, so cultivating new relationships ends up being a lot harder and inorganic than it would have been embodied.
One thing I’ve enjoyed immensely over the last few weeks has been this worship set from a musician in England that I really admire, Jonathan Ogden.
Phil Wickham’s also been playing a lot of acoustic worship song covers by himself at home, I’d recommend giving it a listen.
There’s a few other things I’ve been meaning on writing here for a while, but it’s hard to put something particularly polished up here. I might stick with this stream-of-consciousness format for now, in hopes that it will lower the psychological bar and allow me to spend more time reflecting and verbalizing my thoughts. Thanks for reading!