I Met a New Me, and I Like Her
Covid-19 forced me to pare down this overscheduled life and embrace myself
Two years ago, I called my mom in a panic and asked if I could borrow a bit of basil. I was whipping up a quick dinner and in a mad dash through the grocery store, had forgotten to grab it. A while later she rang my doorbell and handed me a potted basil plant. I stared at it in utter confusion — I just wanted a bit of basil. I didn’t have the time or desire to water, nurture, or care for another living being. I had a full-time job, three children, and a chaotic life. Ever grateful for the gift, I tried to keep the plant alive. But eventually life got in the way and it died.
Prior to the pandemic, my overscheduled life was problematic in many ways. I hosted monthly socials, threw family functions, and chauffeured my children through a revolving door of birthday parties, dance recitals, and playdates. I had a cyclical string of hair and nail appointments for galas, fashion events, and photo ops. Only partially present in each activity, my mind performed a steady stream of logistical gymnastics to prep for the next task. Waking each day at 5 a.m. and ending every night with a two-mile run, my legs and mind wildly sprinted on a never-ending treadmill with little time for self-reflection.
I approached my path to freedom as if I were in an escape room.
Yet, and still, I loved my life. The pandemonium was familiar and secure. It was the life I chose and purposely built. Never bored or lonely, I felt fulfilled and lived every day like it was my last. I sought joy in the parties, friends, and brunches stacked one on top of the other and enjoyed living in my purpose. This was me, and I knew nothing different.
Then the pandemic hit, and with it, the words “shelter in place” scared me. The thought of home confinement for an unspecified period of time seemed unreasonable, like a parent telling a child to go to their room. The first few weeks were uncomfortable as I transitioned from a fast-paced schedule into one of excruciating monotony. All days felt the exact same and the duplications were suffocating. The interesting twists and turns that once gave me life were now unreachable. The repetition was frustrating…