On Tuesday, I hosted a virtual happy hour for one of my teams at work. I had everyone fill out a survey of silly / interesting questions ahead of time, then we guessed who gave which answer. It was a lot of fun! One of the questions was, “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?”
Whenever I’ve been asked this question in the past, my answer has always been, “the ability to freeze time.” In the last few years, I have found myself acutely aware of how limited my time is. There is so much I want to do, and never enough time in the day to do it all. I feel guilty that I can’t see more friends, get more work done, spend more time volunteering, and of course, take more time for myself exercising, cooking, and reading. Being able to have as much time as I want sounds like the best thing in the world!
But now, after two weeks of sheltering in place, I kind of have that superpower. I’m not spending hours of time in airports and on planes, I’m not spending time driving anywhere, and while I’ve been calling friends and doing Zoom happy hours with them, we don’t spend nearly as long video conferencing as we would together if we were hanging out in person. And I’m find that having extra time is not quite the blessing I always thought.
I have long known that weekend days where I don’t get much done, I tend to feel crappy about myself. I really hate wasting time! And yet, last weekend, I found myself wasting a lot of time on Saturday, and (unsurprisingly) feeling pretty depressed as a result.
As you might expect from me, there are so many things I want to do now that I’m home and have some extra time. Now is a great time for me to deep clean my house and clean out my closets. There are also literally hundreds of books I want to read (and now have the time to do so). I wrote about one of my quarantine goals being to whip myself into shape, and I’m really fortunate to have an awesome home gym in my basement where I can do exactly that. (I should do a post on what my home gym looks like / includes, huh?) But on Saturday, I found myself wasting a lot of time scrolling on social media.
It wasn’t that I found the content particularly compelling; it’s that I felt slightly paralyzed / depressed by just how much time I had available. Sure, the shelter-in-place currently only goes through the end of April, but I’m certain we’re going to extend that for much longer. Even once the official shelter-in-place is lifted, I expect it’s going to be weeks and weeks (or maybe even months?) later that it’s finally okay to really leave our homes and socialize. I foresee a lot of Saturdays and Sundays in the future where I won’t have plans for anything other than staying home and tackling my to-do list.
With no deadline or end in sight, I was finding it hard to motivate myself. But at the end of the day Saturday, I went to bed really grumpy and sad. I couldn’t believe I had wasted so much time (and on what, I don’t really know). That’s a whole day I’ll never get back! How depressing.
I woke up on Sunday morning determined to make it a good day. I did a 45 minute bootcamp (subbing rowing for running) to start my day, then threw together this amazingly delicious and easy banana coconut baked oatmeal. I then took Sesame for a walk on the trails while my oatmeal baked.
I got home in time to jump on the bike for a 20 minute classic rock ride with Olivia. What an awesome class! It was my friend Heather’s 50th class, which is why I was inspired to join, and the playlist was really awesome – one of my favorite rides I’ve done. Meanwhile, in the first five minutes, I heard a shoutout to my coworker Mike… apparently it was his 100th class! I hadn’t even realized he was riding, and I was super excited for him too 🙂
I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast after all that activity, and then at 11am, decided to get back on the treadmill – this time, just to walk though. My church (which I haven’t been to in at least a year) is streaming their service, and I thought I could that perspective. I walked at an easy pace on the treadmill while I streamed church from the TV, and was especially psyched that they were even streaming the music (which is usually my favorite part of church). I kept Sesame in her crate during this (since she’s not a fan of the treadmill), and she behaved herself since she could see me. This was a really relaxing part of the day for me – I think I’m going to make it a weekly habit!
I threw together a quick lunch, then took my Kindle up to the couch in my office (which I’ve covered with a sheet and is the only couch Sesame is allowed on) so I could read the afternoon away. I settled in with Where The Crawdads Sing, which I’ve been meaning to read for months, and it didn’t disappoint! I can see why it got rave reviews, and I ended up finishing it by the end of the day.
It’s funny – lying on the couch reading for hours isn’t exactly productive. But doing it with intention and purpose (choosing to spend the afternoon reading vs happening to waste so much time on social media) seems to be what made it feel good and indulgent instead of lazy and shameful.
I finished out the night cooking a recipe I’d been meaning to try for a long time – Budget Bytes’ West African peanut stew.
While it simmered, I Chromecast the Peloton app from my iPad to the living room TV and tried one of the new Peloton dance cardio workouts. It was a lot of fun! I really liked that these are only 20 minutes, and also that while they get you moving they don’t get you sweaty – so you’re fine to do them in jeans and a sweater rather than needing to change into gym clothes. Since Sunday, I’ve been trying some of the other 20 minute dance cardio classes before dinner, and I really like that new habit. Even the nights I don’t want to do it and have to force myself to press play (ha, remember the “just press play” mantra of the old Beachbody workouts?), I’m always glad I did – it puts me in a much better mood.
So – where the weekend started out kind of rough, I feel like on Sunday I hit my groove and learned a lot about what’s going to keep me happy during this extended period of isolation. Essentially, I don’t want to “pass the time”; I want to “fill the time”, staying as busy as I would be if I could go out. Fingers crossed I can continue on this positive streak!