Summer in Isolation

At 4 months into our self-isolation (ours began March 12th), like many, I am finding it challenging to create a new rhythm.

Summer is always the time I think about doing things outside. And summer is definitely here, with high temps and high humidity. So, how does getting out and about look like right now?

  • Shopping is still scary with 50% of people still not wearing masks; the thought of going to a farmer’s market feels super risky. (Where am I going to get my summer tomatoes, peaches, and fresh corn?)
  • No way I’m heading into the gym even though they re-opened. There’s no avoiding heavy breathing at the gym and I doubt everyone will be masked, since it seems to be such a controversial thing. I’m not even sure about an indoor yoga class.
  • Summer arts & crafts shows and concerts are canceled. And while some classes are starting back up (arts classes, cooking classes), I still worry since both my husband and I are high risk.
  • Even gatherings with friends feel risky. Summer picnics, heading to watch a game, or getting the group together to eat out… not going to happen.

While I love both of my homes, I’m getting “cabin fever” and it’s summer!

I had said that intentional connection was a must do this summer. I’ve come to accept that connecting via Zoom or FaceTime is better than nothing. I am willing to take some risk with walking at the park with a friend or a small group chatting outside on the deck.

I need to continue to channel my thinking into gratitude, being kind to myself, and focus on what I am doing versus what I’m not doing.

  • I’m working on staying active. I’m enjoying the on-line yoga (Yoga with Adriene!) and my previous Zumba instructor is now doing Zoom Zumba classes. I’m reaching out to friends for walks and we will head to the park one day soon to do some Stand-Up Paddle-boarding.
  • I’m trying to make one new recipe a week. And cook with different techniques. Even if most of the results are flops, it’s the experimentation that is fun. Yes, seriously, flops. I think only 2 of 10 recipes are in the try-it-again pile. Thank goodness for an understanding hubby.

And today I wrote a blog for the first time in 3 weeks. I didn’t want to do another Covid-19 focused one, but that is where my retirement lifestyle is right now.

As I noted many blogs ago, retirement life is a series of transitions.   And this latest transition is about dealing with a summer in isolation.

 

Picture Credit: Summer Sunset View June 2020

46 thoughts on “Summer in Isolation

  1. We are living in a real-time experiment in which suddenly we find ourselves engaging in ways we never have before online. Many people are finding an upside to online engagement and I think that will carry over when we have a vaccine and can again safety interact.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Pat and Friends, my heart goes out to the young people who are out of work, and facing serious/long-term financial distress – nothing short of persecution. i smell an agenda, and it reeks of sulfur.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sounds very familiar. I am the main contact for my 91 year old mother, so I am being really careful. March 12th was my shutdown date too. I stopped going to my trainer. I stopped going to get my hair cut. Yesterday was the first time I had even been in a store in three months and that was for something REALLY essential (restocking my bar). 😂🙄. We haven’t been to a restaurant since then either although we have done carryout once or twice, but it’s just not the same.

    I have had the good fortune to be able to play golf throughout the last few months. That gets me out of the house and gets me some exercise and all of my friends are very good about physical distance, not touching each other’s gear, etc.

    I am doing a rethink about my entire situation and patterns of activity. I need to get back into a good exercise program and I have to plan my days better. There have been far too many days where not much was accomplished by bedtime. It’s important to keep in mind that time is the single most valuable commodity and we shouldn’t fritter it away considering that some of us have less of it to look forward to just by virtue of our relative ages.

    If you are in Florida, be VERY careful. That state is a mess. 🙁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bob, We are in Ohio at the moment. Came back just as Florida began to spiral out of control. I’m watching it carefully as we would like to go back down this fall… I actually love how much more active I am down there, how much more time I spend outdoors, and even how I eat better there. Trying hard to replicate those habits in Ohio, but for some reason find it more difficult. Like you, we’ve not been to a restaurant in months and did take-out only a couple of times. Thai, sushi, and pizza… those seem to do OK as take-out and are things I just can’t cook well at home. OK, I don’t cook much well… but I am trying .

      I do find there are many days where I have to think, “did I accomplish anything today?” You are right that we need to live each day and not just wait to when this is over… that could be a very long time.

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  4. I can relate to the feeling of cabin fever, Pat. I have actually started to do some of the things you talked about. Our county has a mandatory face mask order now, and though not everyone complies, the vast majority of people in the stores and other public places are masked. It’s not a guarantee, of course, but it does give me some comfort. As I listen to the debate about whether children should go back to school buildings in the fall, it makes me sad. There is no good answer. I don’t believe most children are getting everything they need from the online schooling, but I also worry for their safety, and that of their educators. My 93-year-old mother is in a rehab center after a broken hip, and it is heartbreaking not being able to hold her hand or sit in the same room with her. We do stand outside her window and call her on the phone. Even my hiking is on hold. The trails are fairly crowded, and at our high elevation, I can’t see hiking the mountains in a mask. If I’m perfectly honest, I’m not feeling particularly motivated to get out either–which is crazy, considering I just said I have cabin fever. Today, we would have been on an airplane flying to Alaska, to spread my mother’s ashes in Fairbanks. She’ll have to wait another year. I’m sure she doesn’t mind, but it would help bring closure to the grieving process…which also got cut short by COVID-19.

    Boy–I didn’t mean to be such a downer! Sounds like I need to work on focusing on what I can do, rather than what I can’t. What I can do is breath freely with my healthy lungs, go on a walk this morning while the air is cool and fresh, have lunch with family or friends in the park, start a new jigsaw puzzle, read a good book…just to name a few.

    Wishing you a peaceful week full of life’s small joys.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christie, You’re not being a downer. You’re facing the reality that we live in right now. I go up and down every day, trying hard to focus on what I can do, rather than what I can’t. And trying to balance the social connections I need with not being too risky in behavior. For some reason, I feel safer outdoors, and yesterday took a walk with a friend. We stayed about 3-4 feet apart on the park paths and never really faced each other as we walked… so we wore no masks. Some might think that is too risky even, but for me, I felt it was OK.

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  5. Good for you, Pat, to try and find joy in each day. Where I live, even though the case numbers have shown a downward trend, I continue to practice social distancing. Have a wonderful week! #MLSTL

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  6. We are slowly coming out of lock down here in England but things like gyms are still closed and no live events or classes. I miss swimming and I have not visited a friend at home for months. The situation in America still looks scary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anne, it is so interesting to hear how other countries are managing this, from a real person’s POV with other bloggers. Even with the numbers here continuing to increase, gyms are open, restaurants are open, businesses are open. Florida had 15,000 new cases yesterday and they still opened DisneyWorld. I will say we are starting to visit with friends, sitting out doors and staying distanced – no hugs, no shared food. Yes, there has often been wine involved… but the conversation in-real-life was what was the best.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi! It’s such a strange time isn’t it? But I love your positivity and I also enjoy my online yoga. I might try the new recipe a week idea … cooking can be so therapeutic. And don’t worry, mine are also always flops but it’s all about enjoying the process 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Anne, Thanks for joining the conversation. I used to love cooking and am hoping to get back into the groove of it. I do find cutting up veggies very soothing! The new recipe thing is new though… and it is nice to know I’m not the only one cooking “flops”!

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  8. It’s certainly been a hard time for many and I hear your pain Pat. We are heading into winter here and lockdown restrictions are starting to lift here with a few spikes happening. On the whole we are doing fairly well. #mlstl

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Your part of the world is doing so much better. For some reason, here in the US, dealing with this disease has become a political thing. Distancing & wearing masks are considered “attacks on personal freedom”. I am getting used to wearing one, and no it’s not comfortable in the heat of summer. But then again, neither is wearing a bra. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I probably haven’t felt as confined as other people because I would be home a lot whether Covid was around or not. I’m recovering from surgery so haven’t neen able to go out much since April anyway. I’ve spent a lot of time writing but at times inspiration for new ideas hasn’t been forthcoming. Often external events and other people spark ideas so when they’re limited, we’re not having our writer’s brain switched on. I hope as things ease you get back into the swing of things.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christina, I also find it hard to be inspired because I seem to be just reading stuff all about Covid-19. (Need to change that!) And this time was unplanned… when I had my surgery last summer, I preplanned reading and classes. I did pick a class to take (finally) and will start it next week. Plus I have a plan to visit the local half-price book shop (masked, of course) – I still prefer to read real books, not Kindle. Making plans like this does help to feel more in control of a situation that is really out of my control. It’s only taken me 4 months to get to this point.

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  10. Hi Pat – I’ve been missing you and your blogging thoughts – they always engage my brain! Sorry that you’re feeling a bit locked down and locked in. We’re so fortunate in Western Australia, there haven’t been any cases anywhere near me for months and life here is back to normal (except for wiping trolley handles at the supermarket and maintaining 2m social distancing everywhere). My husband and I are both low-risk too and that helps me feel more at ease with it all. My biggest joy was when the restrictions lifted enough to see family – that just made my heart happy. Other than that, I’m pretty fine with it all – but I know there are a lot of people (like yourself) living with the reality of covid still and that would definitely be challenging. Still, I’m glad you’re back and writing xx #MLSTL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Leanne, Thanks for saying you missed me! I’m going to reuse your phrase “locked down and locked in”… so appropriate. When I hear no cases for months, it is amazing. In the US, in the 2 states I watch (our 2 homes), we have had increased numbers past 2 weeks in both places. And I mean increased… 11,000 one day in Florida. Yes, a single state, a single day. We are in Ohio at the moment… less per day, only 900 yesterday. Is that mind-boggling to you? No back to normal for us. I just heard my BIL was doing extra hours at work because a colleague was in quarantine after being exposed and awaiting test results. That’s our new normal! That and masks…getting used to wearing masks everywhere.

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  11. I’m a bit the same. I didn’t want to write about the coronavirus but it seems to be front and centre.

    I think we’re probably lucky in Australia that it’s winter so we’re happier to be inside at the moment.

    I love that you’re doing online Zumba. I thought I might do some online dance classes but haven’t gotten the motivation yet…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so interesting to hear about how different parts of the world are managing this… from a real person perspective, not the news reports. Australia has managed this so much better than the US. My Zoom Zumba is my previous Zumba instructor doing live classes… so I have the accountability factor to motivate me!

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  12. Hi Patricia! I’m trying not to write about COVID but it seems to creep into all my blog posts. I thought life would begin to change as restrictions eased here in Canada but instead I am feeling more disconcerted. I read your post and can pretty much echo it – including two homes – for me, our mainland home and our island getaway – but also staying away from malls, worried about getting together with family and friends and online yoga! I’m not even looking at recipes these days! I’ve gained 10 pounds since March! But I’ll lost it again one day. Next week I head off to go wedding dress shopping with my daughter – private appointments, maximum 3 people – perfect! And I did head out to the local pub with my husband last week – we enjoyed a burger and a beer overlooking the ocean – and I was so impressed with all the health and safety restrictions that the pub required! Almost felt like a normal island afternoon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Helen, thanks for joining in the conversation. Oh my, burger and a beer at the pub! I have not been that risky yet… we are doing take-away, but have not ventured eating “out”. We did talk about the possibility of doing a lunch out…taking a drive into the country just to get out and about. It’s been helpful for me to start planning things… even if they need to take into consideration health & safety a lot more. Oh, I also put on weight in March/April and then had to switch out comfort food eating. Summer fruit has helped, but that’s been stressful as I’m now going to shop more often… and our city/county JUST went to mandatory masks in public this week! I’m actually glad for that as I will feel more comfortable going to the grocery.

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  13. My summer is much like yours. There are few places to go, and we don’t really feel safe. I do go to the gym, but only to swim and only at hours when I know few people are there. I usually have a locker bay to myself and don’t interact with anyone there. The younger guys do not wear masks, as you guessed, but I keep my distance from them. The pool has not been crowded and I do my laps and go home. I, too, have cooked a few flops. I have also decided I don’t like cooking and am quite sick of it, but there are few alternatives. I am not above scrambled eggs for dinner but my husband likes a real dinner. Unfortunately, his cooking skill is sorely lacking. But we all persevere- there is not much choice!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Michelle, Oh, it’s so nice to know I’m not the only “flop cooker”! I used to love cooking and am trying to get back to that. I did have a success the other night… so up to 3 to “cook again”. Hah. I’m hoping to go to our local food boutique (masked of course) and buy some new things to try. As you said, we persevere.

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    1. It’s hard for me to admit, but I’ve always been bad with change. Trying to be better! But when things go “wrong” – meaning different than my expectations – I have a hard time adjusting. And yes, working on it and that’s probably why I blog about transition! My personal growth area.

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  14. I imagine that most of us (or, was it just me?) went into this thing thinking that it would be much better in a few months. Now, at least in the US where somehow we’ve managed to turn a completely agnostic virus into a political fight, it appears that we may be in for this major lifestyle change for a while. I’m grateful to have a home, yard, partner, and not to be reliant on a job to keep the money coming in. I also miss the activities summer brings and do my best to keep busy. I have found that an occasional “driveway happy hour” with a few friends helps to make me feel less isolated.

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    1. Janis, I looked back at my journal from those early days and mine was a mixture of tracking the days (40 days expected to be done) and worrying it was longer term. Now part of me is adjusting to the fact it will be another 6 months before it’s “done” and trying to find a way to manage the risk of connections… because I’ve determined I need the IRL connections. I too am doing my best to find things to do that will bring me joy.

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    1. Tom, we did our first meet-up with 2 good friends last night. Outdoors. No hugs hello/goodbye. But it was lovely to sit and chat…socially distanced on their deck. With wine. I think this situation is going to be with us for months ahead, and I really needed the in-person connection. It’s amazing how much it helped my psyche.

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  15. It has become a “weighing the risk vs the value” of doing things these days for me. I don’t really consider myself in the high risk group (yes, I’m 61, but I don’t have any other risks issues and consider myself in pretty good shape) so I have ventured a few things. We have eaten at a couple of restaurants outside and that was really helpful for me and risk is medium. I have gone to the grocery store (I think they say the risk can be medium to high depending on how long you stay and how many people have masks on) so I do most of my grocery shopping via Clicklist and just go in for the few things I don’t trust them to pick. I haven’t been to any other store, basically I don’t need anything so why take the risk. I totally agree the gym is high risk and not worth the value so walking and walk/running outside in the park have become my exercise. I feel pretty safe in the park with social distancing and no mask and definitely feel the risk is worth the value on that one. We have gotten together with family members, made pizza and watched Hamilton. That was great! And we got together with my Louisville family for a pool day and had dinner outside and that was great as well! Both of those might be considered medium risk but well worth it in value.
    I wonder if they have online cooking lessons that we could both take and Zoom as we make it????

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Candyse, I’m starting to do some more “medium-risk” things as well – dinner with 2 friends last night – out-doors, of course. And yes, it’s helped. I saw Tablespoon was doing cooking classes again… I’ll need to see how they are doing them. Masked? On-line? But I also want to meet up with you for a river walk. Maybe next week? I’ll need to figure out parking (I usually park at Friendship park when I do a river walk). I’ll connect with you.

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    1. I have a mug for my morning coffee which says “find joy in each day” and perhaps I do need to focus on that a bit more as well! Today, it was finding joy in the late afternoon thunderstorm… the smell of rain on hot pavement was lovely.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Here in Scotland, the Scottish Government has taken, rightly in my opinion, a more cautious approach than the UK, or specifically the English government. And the Scottish population as a whole has been mindful and accepting of restrictions.

    It has meant finding new ways to connect, and finding new rhythms to the day. We are now able to go more than 5 miles by car for recreation and exercise, so now the weekenders are back at work, I’m going to walk in woods about 15 miles from here. Just to taste that sense of freedom again.

    Like you, I’m in Zoom groups. I’ve just this morning come across a free simple exercise routine for older people called fitaneer or fitaneers. You’ll find it on YouTube. Adrienne is great for yoga, isn’t she? I’ve also joined a Power of Eight group (using intention to help people), and a course I was doing has moved online. We started on Zoom but it was glitchy so we use Skype now.

    I stopped eating all animal productsin January, so I’ve appreciated the opportunity to work out new ways of food prep instead of trying to recreate familiar recipes. I used to cook from scratch anyway, but now I’m following Dr Michael Greger’s Daily Dozen to make sure all the nutritional bases are covered.

    It’s always a pleasure to read your posts. You retired ahead of me by a year or so, and I’ve been so grateful that you’ve shared your retirement process and activities so generously. Big waves from across the pond!

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    1. Thanks so much for joining in the conversation! It is so fascinating to hear how different parts of the world are managing this situation. I guess I should say managing this situation better! Yes, the numbers here in the US are dismal with skyrocketing new cases. It’s getting hard to look at the news.

      I’m determined to find another class on-line to take. I’ve set a goal of 1-2 walks with friends a week – a parks that have wide paths. And yeah, I will continue to cook. Nothing as huge as going plant based, but continuing to push myself to try new things. And yeah, Adrienne is awesome; my core has never been better.

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  17. We’re beginning to have things come back to normal – in the state where I live we haven’t had a case in 10 days. Having said that though, in our most southern state – Victoria – they’re in the middle of a second surge…it’s a reminder that it’s still out there. Love that you’re trying to find connection where you can & that you are experimenting in the kitchen – even if there have been a few “imperfect” results.. 🙂

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    1. Jo, Your blogging about cooking does inspire me! My cooking is no-where near your level, but I am having fun with it. And luckily, hubby will eat the ‘never again’ dishes with minimal complaint. Today I was looking at various tortilla-based lasagna/enchilada dishes, so think that will be forthcoming.

      I wish I could say our numbers are looking good… but in fact, they are looking horrible…really horrible. Since I “live” between 2 states (900 miles apart), I watch numbers in both. And both are on huge upswings. It’s hard to know what the future will bring, so I am trying hard to focus on what I can do today – Connect with moderate risk (walks in the park with friends, dinners with another couple outdoors) and cook fun things.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Margaret,
      Thanks for letting me know you enjoy my posts. It’s been a struggle these past few weeks to write, but I am hoping getting back into focus on what I can do will bring back my writing mojo as well.

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  18. We’ve got a few more days in you, as our isolation began on Feb, 25th. We are fortunate in that our son does our shopping for us, groceries and Rx. I have had one tele-med appointment with my Doctor, and Sher and I both have appointments on the 17th of July. (We always do ours together.) We’ve been busy in the yard, adding a larger vegetable garden, and a flower/herb garden as well. We are usually out on the antique show, Highway yard sale and festival circuit during the spring/summer months. Not this year, and who knows when it will be safe for us to venture out again. We too like both of our abodes. One is of course our home base, and our favorite is parked in the driveway wondering why we have abandoned it! We have had it out for a couple of day trips with no contact with anybody. Stay safe and soon maybe we will meet on the road.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I chuckled about your second abode! Going back and forth between our two homes means no veggie garden, and I didn’t even put in annuals this year. Of course, hubby also points out my black thumb in gardening. I know I’m going to be missing the farmer’s markets this summer. Thanks for joining in the conversation!

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