The New Normal• 2 min read
I'm a total morning person.
During the week, I wake up a 6 AM, shower, and take a half hour long walk around Redwood City until it's time to go to work. On my walk, I start off listening to NPR's Up First, followed by BirdNote, and then listening to the podcast I was last listening to the day before.
Sometimes I listen to books instead during my morning walk and my commute. I figure if I can listen to an audiobook during my morning and afternoon commute, that's around an hour of listening a day, which means I could finish a book in about a week.
When I get home from work, Ryan and I will make dinner and either watch YouTube videos or the next episode of whichever TV show we're binging.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
Lots of the activities I have in my routine are related to my hobbies. I enjoy baking and 3D modelling quite a bit, so it's no surprise Ryan and I will watch Gourmet Bakes by Bon Appetit or Corridor Crew critiquing bad CGI in movies. Some of these activities, I do less frequently than others – I don't always spend my walks listening to audiobooks or a podcast. Other habits, like exercise, I fit in wherever I can - walking, going to the gym, or choosing to take the stairs.
All of this, my hobbies and routines, all changed when the shelter in place came into effect.
We already know that our routines changed. We no longer commute to work. Going out to eat isn't an option anymore. Forget going to the gym. We're at home, tending to our pets and family probably for a longer single duration than we've had to in quite some time.
All the habits I had and hobbies I enjoyed previously have all fallen down. I've almost entirely dropped podcasts. Reading has come to a standstill. I haven't baked anything in weeks. It's not that we don't have time - if anything we have more time.
Part of it is due to the new lack of structure in our lives. We wake up, shower, make breakfast, walk five steps to work, then relax. Hopefully those all occur, in that order, and each in a different room. We have to invent new boundaries for edges of our lives that previously we didn't have to build because they occurred alongside other activities in our lives, e.g. commuting or the influx of chit chat as coworkers arrive at the office or get lunch. For me, this has just been set times to start/stop work, eat lunch, plus scheduled times for breaks and coffee.
We've also developed some new hobbies. Since we're spending all day inside, we've started to take long walks through the neighborhood after working. We now have a nice streak of completing the New York Time's mini-crosswords. We've even purchased a puzzle subscription to try our hand at the "real" crosswords. I've finally finished a video game I bought in January and have picked up playing a few more.
Quarantine has been going on for so long now that we're starting to get used to the new normal. In a weird sense, it's nice.
It'll be weird going back to my old routine when shelter in place is over. I'll miss the routine I have now.