May 2020 Update: #stillquarantining

It’s week six or seven now of quarantine… I’ve lost track at this point. Like many, I don’t miss the social obligations that used to crowd my calendar. Other things I don’t miss: the weekly battle to get my kids to their swimming lesson, small talk, racing to the bus stop at the ungodly hour of 7:19 am. Things I do miss: Sending my kids to school, leaving them with a sitter and going out to dinner with Dan, my writing group (Zoom just isn’t the same), swimming laps at the pool, teaching spin class.

Despite the fact that I identify as an athlete, I have so little motivation to work out right now. I’ve always liked to put an event on the calendar, both for something to look forward to and for some accountability and now that isn’t possible. I was hoping to do at least one sprint triathlon this summer and I had my eye on a 2.4-mile open water swim but now both of those are on hold.

I’ve been lifting weights a few times a week, running once a week or so, and going for walks, but I don’t usually do more than 30-45 minutes per day. Some days it’s only 10-15 minutes. And some days, all I do is walk… and I’m happy to say I’m fine with that. I feel like all my “should’s” don’t matter as much when I’m just trying to get through each day in a new normal.

While I’ve always enjoyed exercise because it makes me feel good, I used to exercise because I was afraid of what would happen if I didn’t. I was afraid that if I didn’t do enough, it meant I was lazy, weak, and undisciplined. Though I’ve never been a numbers person, I used to think of my body as a math equation; my exercise needed to offset my calories lest I (God forbid!) gain weight. I am so glad I’m not in that place anymore. I love being strong and I love sweating, but if I’m in the mood to go for a walk and listen to the birds and enjoy the early morning light I honor that because I’ve (mostly) let go of the fear and it’s so freeing. I no longer need to see a certain number of miles or hours in my training log to know that I’m enough. I no longer let a number on the scale determine whether I’ll have a good day or a bad day. I haven’t weighed myself in over a year and I don’t miss my scale at all.

Rodham by Curtis Sittenfeld
Sittenfeld is one of my favorite authors and her latest novel did not disappoint. Narrated by a fictional Hillary Clinton in an alternate universe in which she never married Bill, it explores themes of gender, power, race, and intimacy. I couldn’t put it down. (Thank you, Net Galley for my ARC!)

The Pleasure Plan by Laura Zam
This was a fantastic book. Zam chronicles her journey from sexual abuse to sexual pleasure with honesty, warmth, and humor. It releases 5/5; I scored an ARC from Net Galley.

Open Book by Jessica Simpson
Just started listening to this one via based on recommendations I saw on Twitter. I really enjoy listening to memoirs narrated by the author and this is no exception. I went into this knowing virtually nothing about Simpson and I’m finding her voice refreshing and relatable.

Climbing’s Send at All Costs Culture Almost Ruined Me (Beth Rodman for Outside)
This was a beautiful essay exploring one woman’s experience as a competitive rock climber and  the eating disorder that came with the lifestyle.

FOMO is Over. Give In to the Joy of Letting Go (Ruth La Ferla for The New York Times)
I related to so much of this article, which explores the ways in which quarantine has given women “permission” to let go of the expensive, time-intensive beauty products and routines  and constricting clothing. I can relate to so much of this; I’ve rotated through a few pairs of pants since this whole thing started and none of them are jeans. I also ordered a new pair of sweatpants.

What’s a Pulse Oximeter and How Can It Tell if I Have Covid-19 (The Guardian)
Writing the story was pretty straightforward but there’s a fun backstory around how I ended up landing this assignment. About a month ago, I was feeling blue because so many of my pitches weren’t landing, when I received an email from an editor at The Guardian. At first I thought it was a joke or spam. Apparently, he’d said he was looking for writers on Twitter a couple of weeks prior, I replied to the thread, and then promptly forgot all about it. Now he’s in my inbox asking if I can write for him and I reply like, “YES, I CAN COMPLETE ANYTHING YOU NEED BY YESTERDAY!!!” (I might be exaggerating a bit.) And then a week passed and after hearing nothing from him, I followed up. Another week or two passed, and still nothing so I followed up. And once I completely forgot about all about it… he assigned me this story. I guess the lesson is be persistent… but also let go?

Can a Massage Gun Fill in for Your Therapist? Here’s What You Need to Know (The Washington Post).
Which reminds me… I miss getting a massage. But if you can’t get one the gun really is the next best thing.

With Gyms Closed, Try Intermittent Workouts. You Might Get More Out of Them (The Washington Post)
I actually started inserting these mini-workouts into my day since I wrote this and I’m loving them.

The Exercise Everyone Should Be Doing at Home During the Pandemic: Squats(The Washington Post)
This was what I thought was one of the most straightforward articles I’ve ever written, yet it drew tons of new subscribers to my email list, comments, and emails. I’m chalking it up to coronavirus. Or maybe it really was a stellar, thought-provoking article on a basic exercise? Writing it has actually inspired me to squat more often and with heavier weights (including the barbell my husband rescued from his parents’ basement… the same barbell I once told him was a ridiculous waste of space that we’d never actually use.)

Because of coronavirus, two writing teachers I admire (Abby Rasminsky and Susan Shapiro) are offering virtual classes, which I signed up for. I like that they’re forcing me to be creative, plus having a class to attend gives me something to look forward to and breaks up the quarantine-induced monotony.

I mentioned another writing project I’ve been working on in my last blog post… It’s still in progress I’m looking forward to sharing it with you!


3 thoughts on “May 2020 Update: #stillquarantining

  1. emilys72016 says:

    Great post! I am so glad to learn about massage guns. I have a chronic pain from a bike crash back in 2005 that resulted in much scar tissue in my right upper glut. And my husband always has various knots and aches from workouts and cycling. We might need to invest in one of these — had never heard of them! Thanks for the enlightenment and glad you’re hanging in there during the pandemic.

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