In the Tell Me About Yourself series, we last heard from my de facto cousin in Manila. Now we will return to the US and learn about the COVID-19 pandemic experience of my cousin in the Chicago area.
This cousin is making the most out of her time while social distancing and living in quarantine. She is proudly independent and enjoying solitary time, but she still finds herself missing people. (Who knew that could happen?)
There is an innate need for human connection even when you are independent.
What are you feeling a strong need to have during this pandemic?
This Q&A has been edited for clarity.
Tell me about yourself.
I’m single with no kids and in my 40s. I live with my parents, but I’m by myself for about half the year, including the current quarantine.
I have a full-time position at a school, as well as a second job part-time with a local sports team.
I have a lot of interests, and it’s an effort for me to just relax and let my mind rest.
I’m very independent, but have a group of really close friends.
What was your life like before the pandemic?
Life was really busy. My second job is heaviest in the winters, and I also worked extracurricular events at school. So I was often working three, four, or even five nights a week. I definitely wasn’t getting enough sleep, but I’ve been a night owl since my college years.
The summers are very low-key for me, so I don’t mind working a lot during the school year.
What is your life like now during the pandemic?
Pretty chill honestly. I work from home, but I don’t feel confined to stay there. If I wanted to, I could use my office, but I just choose to stay home. This is an important distinction for me, I’d go crazy if I felt caged!
Since sports are suspended, I haven’t worked my second job. I feel lucky though, as income wasn’t affected (the team paid all their hourly workers anyway).
It took a little while, but getting all my work done from home is easy now.
I’m getting more sleep and rest than I ever have, and I love having the extra solitary time to do things that are relaxing to me. Crafts, baking and reading—I usually only can do one thing at a time when working, but now I can do multiple things.
I miss seeing friends horribly, but I’ve seen a few while keeping social distance.
What have you learned through this experience?
I’ve learned that even as independent as I am, the people in my life are truly gifts from God to cherish. While it is safer that my parents are in a small town out of the country, I’ll be so glad to see them again, despite them driving me somewhat crazy. Same with my friends: we can keep connectedness online or by phone, but it is nothing like seeing them in person.
On an unrelated note, I’ve also learned that making lists keeps me to stay on track towards getting chores done.
To what extent does this clarify or confuse what you want from life?
I don’t think much has changed on this point for me. What I’ve wanted from life has been the same for a long time: to live in a way that reflects thankfulness to God. Both for a sinful heart forgiven and for another day to experience God’s grace. The setting has somewhat changed around me, but there are still ways to live a thankful and joyful life.
What do you hope to experience in the future?
It’s little things that tend to make me tear up with the anticipation. I really just hope to hug my friends and family in tight hugs soon, and tell them I love them.
Outside of that, I’d love to experience adult life without financial debt.
What action steps do you think you can take now?
Show care and consideration towards my neighbors.
Find ways to volunteer in my community as well as my church.