Turning 40 during Quarantine

I turned 40 this week.

The time leading up to this age has been a really hard time while I have been changing jobs. I found a workplace I loved because the culture was great, and I loved all the people I worked with. But the work itself became too much for me in the stage of life I’m in right now.

So many times, I haven’t been sure what is next. Finally I decided to apply to graduate school. I have wanted to do that so many times, but I would have had to do an online program. My local university just got a program that is right up my alley. I applied, and now I can’t wait to hear back.

I’ve been so sad that the entire world is a big unparty right now. I had planned to have a dance party in my back yard to celebrate this year, and now it is postponed.

I’ve been hiking with only my Quarantine Crew to console myself.

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My daughter has started taking dramatic black and white selfies and making them the wallpaper of my phone. I pretend to be annoyed with her hijacking, but actually I love the little surprise every time.
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She is named after her great-grandma – my dad’s mom. Grandma just passed away shortly after all the things shut down for the pandemic. I had to watch my grandma’s graveside service on my cousin’s Youtube stream. That was hard, but I look forward to a celebration and memorial of her life in the future.

For the last few years, every time I saw her I tried to take a selfie with her, because you just don’t know how long you will have your grandmas. This is the last one from when she came down to visit almost exactly a year ago. She has the most beautiful smile, and when I saw this picture it made me sad and happy at the same time. She lived a great life, and I will feel lucky if I can be in some ways like her.

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Somehow 40 makes me feel a little more like a grown up. I’m a little more satisfied with my choice to go to school and change my work situation. I hope that this satisfaction is the harbinger of more self confidence and comfort in my own skin to come.

On my birthday, the quarantine crew and I went to Snow Canyon State Park. We had the place to ourselves. We hiked a little, then went and sat in the sand. I laid down with my bare feet in the sand and fell asleep for a brief few minutes while my kids played happily all around me. Not even promising a tasty dinner could get the boys to leave easily. We got curbside pickup sushi and pizza on the way home.

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My dear husband also made a secret Facebook group and had a bunch of our friends come and write me happy birthday messages on my driveway. There were poems, pictures, and many kind greetings. I loved it. At the end of the day, I looked at all of it and just about cried. I think I have been at the edge of tears, or in tears so many times over the last weeks about the virus situation that I’m getting better at holding them back. Or maybe I’m cried out? Anyway, it was full emotional joy. I loved it. Too bad every day of quarantine can’t be my birthday, huh?

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Coping Strategies

So this whole virus thing seems pretty serious. I am realizing that as an introvert I am very well equipped to deal with lots of staying home and isolation. Still, I’m slowing from the former frenetic pace of life, and it’s an adjustment. I thought I’d share a few of my coping strategies that are working so far.

Read All the Memes

First of all, thank you Internet. You have not disappointed in the meme department during this crisis. Every day there is something new making me chuckle.
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My husband’s favorite: “Whoever said one person can’t change the world never ate an undercooked bat.”

Quilt all the Quilts

My sewing room is full of UFO’s, which are also known as UnFinished Objects. I have already finished two, and look forward to finishing more. Check out Jenny Sews for the details in coming days.

Walk

I often go on 20 minute walks during normal times, but right now I can go for longer walks, and they help lift my mental mood significantly.

Watch All the Jane Austen and Period Dramas 

So far I have watched

Pride and Prejudice 1995 BBC version

Sense and Sensibility 2008 BBC version

Emma – Gwyneth Paltrow Version 1996

Mansfield Park 1999 Romance Drama

Wives & Daughters (Elizabeth Gaskell Miniseries)

North & South (Elizabeth Gaskell Miniseries)

And I plan to watch more as opportunities arise. I have wanted to sit down and watch these movies forever, and I never make time for that. Thank you quarantine!

Whatever Else Suits My Fancy

I’ve sewn a mask out of cute fabric for me to wear while grocery shopping. A man in line at Walmart today told me I should sell them.

I made a loaf of sourdough bread that took about four days to finish due to bad planning and timing on my part, but it tasted delicious.

We recently had our kitchen wood floor sanded down and re-finished, which made me want to deep clean our fridge. I did that, and it’s very satisfying.

I’m listening to and reading a couple of different books, and trying recipes out of one of them.

I think I’m reaching a point now where I’m settling into a more restful pace of movie watching, walking, and general survival with the homeschool responsibilities. My emotions range from calm to hopeful to despairing to optimistic, and a whole mixed bag of many more.  I think the one thing that helps me the most is to just remember that this is something affecting the entire world at the same time. How crazy for us to share a global experience like this! I hope it helps us all be a little more compassionate and understanding of one another.