How do you celebrate the anniversary of sheltering-in-place?
What moments stand out in your memory when you think back to a year ago, when cities – even whole states – suddenly shut down?
For us, it began the 12th of March. I remember standing in the kitchen, not feeling well, expressing my doubts about whether or not I was feeling up for seeing the show for which we had got discounted tickets that evening. It was The Inheritance, part 1 (we had tickets to part 2 on Saturday). My husband texted me back – “No theatre tonight.” I replied, well, I wasn’t sure, but I wanted to wait to make a decision in case I started to feel better.
But he replied no, that it wasn’t up to us. There was no theatre that night. Or for the next few… weeks? Months? We didn’t know.
But I had tickets for us to see both parts of The Inheritance, as well as excellent mezzanine tickets to Six, which was to be opening that night (we planned to see it the following Tuesday). And suddenly, those plans were gone.
I had yoga teacher training sessions that weekend, and we all discussed what would happen if the studio had to shut down. “It will only be a few weeks.” “It’s just like the flu – we shouldn’t worry.” What did we know?
It was the last time I’d use public transportation for almost a year. I started working from home the middle of that week – it was a slow period for my job in events for an education non-profit (little did I know just how slow it would be) – but we didn’t expect that we’d be told to continue working from home, or how long it would take.
It would be months before I went back to my office to get anything I left behind.
But, that first week, before the shut-down mandate, two things happened.
Firstly, my husband celebrated his 39th birthday, and our plans to gather with friends were cancelled as we began to grapple with the reality of what might be happening to our city.
Secondly, once the news hit that NYC would be entering a shutdown, I recorded and broadcast my first guided meditation.
(You can watch it here)
This week, both of those things come full circle, and I get to step back and consider where I am – where we are – in this moment in time.
I remember writing “Happy Birthday, Sam!!!” on the blackboard wall we painted in our kitchen. I was so excited for everything we’d planned – for his birthday, then, and for the rest of the year. Travel, celebrations, performances, family.
I left those words on the wall of our kitchen for an entire year. At first, I did it because I was sure the celebration was just on pause, and we’d be gathering with friends and picking up where we left off, soon enough.
But soon, it was clear that we wouldn’t be “in the clear” for months, at least. So I left it as a reminder for us to look forward to coming through to the other side of the pandemic. There would be things to look forward to!
But also, I left it there to remind me of what I had, and what I was lucky and privileged to have. Someone with whom to share this experience.
This is an image I shared soon after the decision to shut down NYC – I saw a lot of panic and frustration and anxiety… and probably felt all of those things, too, myself. I scribbled it quickly on a sheet in my journal and took a picture. And then, on the 20th of March, I put out a guided meditation… a meditation that I would end up sharing now every Friday evening as part of a regular guided meditation session I’ve been leading since this past December. (The Loving-Kindness meditation, which I wrote about here!)
There have been ups and downs, but this Friday I get to lead that same meditation again, and yesterday we celebrated my husband’s 40th birthday – family members calling in on our new Alexa devices – and I gave him a damp rag and let him wipe the blackboard clean.
Time to look forward to what’s next. Spring, and the Equinox, are arriving at such a perfect time.
And now, the important questions…
I have quite a few photos of the past year, and might dedicate another post just to some of the things I discovered while working from home during the pandemic! Stay tuned!