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I noticed my work bag in my closet when I was putting away clean clothes Sunday. It’s been sitting there collecting dust since mid-March along with the vast majority of the clothes and shoes in my closet.  All that I have worn in months are shorts, yoga pants, hoodies, T-shirts, and workout clothes.  Summer tops, work capris, sweaters, dress pants, suit jackets, sundresses all hang around — each season passing by with little to no occasion to wear any of it.

I’ve spent a lot of time being angry and anxious about the way life is going right now. Kelly missed out on her senior prom, then her graduation. The party that we eventually decided to hold, was a source of major worry for weeks leading up and weeks after lest someone there have been sick. She started college in her bedroom.

Lauren started her senior year of H.S. at home, too. Swim season may or may not happen. It’s touch-and-go from day to day. Senior prom, track season and graduation are question marks, too.  Both of my kids getting screwed over in their senior year seems supremely unfair.

And, yet, I woke this morning feeling grateful for this odd year.  I slept in until 7:54 a.m., which gave me just enough time to crawl out of bed, make coffee, and walk upstairs to start work on time.

I don’t hate this life.

Except for the threat of illness, in a lot of ways, it’s everything I wished for — a solid 8-9 hours of sleep every night, working in comfy clothes, the flexibility of working from home, a nearly clear evening schedule, a perfect excuse to bow out of any social events, more time to read, cook dinner, clean the house, binge Netflix shows, play games or build puzzles with the girls, take long daily walks, and do little home projects. I could (as my mother would call it) putter for hours, organizing drawers, putting things away, cleaning the grout in the bathroom, touching up the paint in the hallway…. I am never bored.

Until COVID started to rage out of control again, I had been running two to three times a week with a few friends in the morning. Not at 5 a.m., like I used to have to run, but at 7 a.m., usually in actual sunlight. Nobody at home cares if I start work a hot, sweaty mess. I have a baseball hat at the ready in case someone video calls me. I can take a 15 min. break later to shower.

A few days a week, I swim laps at lunchtime and return to work with wet hair, reeking of chlorine. Again, I can shower later. I don’t have to look good at home. I love it.

There’s almost nothing to do on evenings and weekends, and I couldn’t be happier about that. To be honest, I’m really looking forward to a holiday season without endless shopping, cocktail parties, gatherings, gift exchanges, events.  I’ve already read thirty books this year, ten more than last year at the time.

There’s a vaccine now. This odd era will end. Eventually, life will return to “normal.” I’ll go back to getting five hours of sleep (max). I won’t be able to run with friends at 7 a.m. or swim at noon or toss in a load of laundry at lunchtime. My calendar will again overflow with activities, events, and obligations. I’ll have to squeeze back into nice clothes and put on makeup and do my hair and wear a bra all the time.

This will end and, for me, it will be bittersweet. I want my kids to have a normal life again, but me….not so much. Normal was kinda killing me. So I’ll do my best to enjoy what’s left of this slow life, and savor these days — when the universe grounded us all.

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About Just Write: Just Write is my adaptation of free writing, a technique in which a person writes continuously and quickly without little regard for spelling, grammar, or topic. It helps writers overcome blocks of apathy and explore everything from meaningful topics to mundane observations with the same effort and without the pressure of crafting perfect prose. I just start writing.