Time In My Pocket

Quarantine has changed my priorities.

No, no, it isn’t anything truly dramatic, don’t worry. Just my musings as I start this short work week from my dining room table, overlooking my bright, sunny backyard. (With the air conditioner running because yeah, summer hit with the force of a Mac truck this year! P.S. – not complaining, I swear!)

Under normal circumstances, I would have crammed all my gardening—cleaning out flowerbeds, planting, rearranging, putting down mulch—into this past long weekend. That would have been along with whatever other plans I had, such as switching my daughter’s bedroom and our home office, which consisted of cleaning out closets, moving furniture, painting, putting together a new bed and closet organizer, and purging all those dust bunnies that had taken up residence behind and under every piece of furniture in both rooms. And writing.

Which would have stressed me out, because I’m currently under deadline to finish, cleanup, and get two books to my editor before the end of next month. No pressure, Self.

I mean, I’m not gonna lie, I still felt plenty of self-inflicted stress yesterday, as I sat on the back porch and hammered away at the keyboard, not meeting my daily steps goal and wishing desperately that I could put it all off and go to my neighborhood beach because wow, did we ever have a fantastic Memorial Day this year, weather-wise.

But I was on a role, the words flowing like, er, water, the story shaping up in a way that was making me really happy; happy enough to forego the beach so that I could translate that fantasy world in my head onto a Word document that will eventually become the next book for you to read.

And at the end of the day, when I finally hit that mental roadblock that told me it was time to shut down, I felt… good. Pleased with my word count, thrilled with the story that was coming together, and not at all worried that I still hadn’t weeded the flowerbeds or put down mulch.

Why was I not stressed?

Because it’s quarantine, baby.

Which means I don’t have to drive to my day job, a task that sucks, so I’ve learned, about three hours out of my day, five days a week. The commute itself is anywhere from 45 minutes to over an hour, each way, plus I’m counting getting-ready time. You know, actually showering and fixing my hair and putting on makeup and dressing in clothing that isn’t made of comfy cotton and elastic waists. If you add dog-walking time in there, which in my pre-quarantine life, I did as soon as I arrived home each evening, that’s an additional 30 or 40 minutes I’m saving, since now I generally do that task during late morning, when I take a break from the day job.

Nowadays, I get up around 6:15, take all of ten minutes to brush my teeth and wash my face (who needs a hairbrush these days?), feed and let the dog out, then settle down with my laptop, hammering out at least a chapter before I have to log into the day job. My commute now consists of seventeen steps from the living room couch to the dining room table.

Around 4:30 or 5, I’ll shut down the work laptop and today, since I didn’t get it done over the weekend, I’ll head outside and start digging away at those flowerbeds. Probably won’t get it all done, but that’s okay. There’s always tomorrow. My state is still under stay-at-home orders until mid-June, and my day job hasn’t yet determined a back-to-the-office date.

So, yeah, plenty of time to get those flowerbeds into tiptop shape. And get the writing done. And maybe even head down to the beach one of these days. It’s less crowded during the week anyway.

Cheers to summer. And to time in our pockets.

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