To begin with, I think it’s worth mentioning that, for me, life and translation are somewhat intertwined. Translation is my life, but my life is not all about translation. So let’s consider this reading from that angle.
But first things first: How are you hanging in there? I sincerely hope things are well, considering the circumstances, of course. But do share with me in the comments below how your life has changed with this new normal.
I’m on my 58th day of self-quarantine.
- I’m single, I live by myself, no children.
- I’m a freelance translator who has always worked at home, so nothing changed there.
- I work in an area and with clients that have not been affected by the pandemic. (Come to IT, y’all!)
- I’m an introvert (although it may not seem so; believe me, even I was shocked when my therapist told me so) and I love staying at home, watching TV (God bless Netflix!).
- I live in a small town that has not been seriously affected (yet?).
- I can shop online for most of the things I need.
- If I really need to go out, I have a car.
Biggest changes in my routine: No weekly manicure (I’ll live), no yoga classes twice a week, no gym during the week, not seeing my nephews (this is hard!), no occasional meetings with friends to talk over a drink and laugh.
If this does not mean privilege, I don’t know what does.
I should be feeling gooood, right? I should be jumping in total bliss.
Well, one of the things COVID-19 is teaching us is that absolutely nothing is obvious, expected, and black-in-white.
Everything started in the beginning of my self-quarantine, when I came to the conclusion that my fully planned and paid-for vacation trip to Europe with my mom would have to be cancelled. Oh, the headache to cancel everything (which I’m still doing, btw)! Oh, the disappointment! Oh, the despair of having absolutely no idea when I’ll be able to take a vacation (something I religiously do at least once a year). After all, why take a vacation to stay at home, something I do every single day? And all of this while dealing with the dreaded COVID-19 reality. Oh, the fear! I lost it. I had a terrible week where I just felt like sleeping and crying, and didn’t feel like working (yes, me!).
Since then, it’s been like an emotional roller coaster.
It’s like I’m bipolar or something.
I had down-in-the-dumps, cry-my-eyes-out, let-me-sleep-forever moments, and then I’d have ok moments. I didn’t feel like posting on social media. I couldn’t even think about my podcast and blog. I hated every single live! I barely had the strength to work, so I saved all my energy to it, which was already a huge effort.
I miss going out with friends and travelling. I miss hugs. I still don’t feel like exercising at home. For me, it doesn’t make sense to exercise (a relaxing time) where I work (online). I need the human “contact” and presence. After all, it’s already a big deal working where I live. And being stuck at home, not being able to leave, makes things worse.
Since I’m an introvert by nature and I love being with myself, I’ve learned to recognize, understand, and question my feelings and behaviors. Now I’ve learned something else: Embracing them.
No matter who you are, what you do, and to what extent your life has been affected by the pandemic, it’s absolutely normal to feel sad, depressed, or not your usual self. We’re living in unprecedented times filled by fear. We have absolutely no idea what the future holds and when this nightmare will go away (if it will ever be completely gone). This reality, in itself, can really make we lose our minds.
So here’s what I have learned so far:
- It’s totally ok to feel the way you are feeling. Learn to identify, understand, and question your feelings, but, most of all, embrace them. Think of yourself as a scared child who needs love, understanding, and a great deal of pampering. Treat yourself to whatever you feel you need.
- You don’t feel like exercising in front of your mobile phone, computer, or TV? Then don’t! Someday, somehow, the feeling will come, or you will find something you feel like doing. Give it time.
- Do you feel like eating everything and a bit more? Just do it! Again, someday, somehow, you will feel like eating healthier. Try to do it, of course, but don’t feel bad for not feeling like it. Do not judge yourself. Be patient and caring.
- You don’t have to take all the free courses available, watch all lives, attend all webinars, read all books, learn all languages. Living and hanging in there during these difficult times are, by themselves, effort enough.
- Try to shield and protect yourself from the crude reality as much as possible. If you don’t have to, why research every single detail and news about COVID-19? It won’t change anything. The reality is heartbreaking, and if we really think about all those people who are dying alone, those family members and friends who can’t even properly say good-bye to their loved ones, those who lost their jobs or who are suffering financial losses and going through tough financial difficulties, we will break. I did. Do whatever you can to try to help however you can, but don’t think about it too much, for your own mental sake. It’s not selfishness, as long as you don’t ignore the reality and do whatever you can to help those in need. It’s self-preservation. After all, we’re at war. Do your part, but prioritize yourself.
I wanted to share my experience with you because I struggled to come to these conclusions myself. Lately, I’ve been having good weeks. I’m feeling more motivated and happier to revive my blog and podcast, and social media channels. I’m even participating in lives! I don’t know if this will last and for how long, but I have to leverage it.
Embrace your bad moments and take advantage of your good ones.
Live one day at a time.
Don’t be hard on yourself.
And know you are not alone.