COVID-19 SELF-ISOLATION: A SINGLE WOMAN’S OUTLOOK Part III Part III comes after more than 19 weeks in self-isolation, and for the majority of time I have kept to myself. I walk alone (not entirely alone as noted in my “workout routine” section), watch films alone, cook alone, play music alone, shop alone (again, not truly alone as noted in Part I of the series in the section “shopping”), work alone, and so on. The closest I come to not being alone is organizing zoom happy hours and dinners with friends and family. However, I started venturing out around week-12 to meet with my family, and a few very close friends face to face, doing our best to practice social distancing, and wearing masks as needed. Here are some other ways I have expanded my lifestyle, but in keeping with the COVID-19 guidelines. Working I have made the occasional visit to my office to pick up something or drop off mail, but for the most part I am still working from home. I’ve accepted the idea I may be doing this until the start of 2021. I will be a year older sort to speak (my birthday is January 2nd–my birth year is not important) and that is not easily acceptable! Workout Routine The good news was the lake near my house where I walked pre-COVID-19 reopened! The not so good news was everyone who may be working from home or sadly, may have lost their job, decided to walk at the lake, even at 5:30 am when it officially opens. Given the number of folks not abiding by the rules (e.g. wearing masks; keeping 6 feet apart), I have opted to keep walking around my neighborhood. In addition to the miles I was racking (@ 300 miles) I was also riding my bike (which is on a stand in my garage) getting in the best shape of my adult life. I would ride as hard and fast as I could for about 45 minutes, with music blasting away, and singing as loudly as I pleased. During those rides, I would forget about the woes of the world especially when a butterfly or bird would wing its way across my garden, sometimes resting on a branch or a flower. Bad news: I pulled a hamstring and I am out of commission for several weeks. Still, I can watch birds, butterflies, and other wildlife (I see rabbits and a stray fox from time to time) right from my office window. Entertainment I broke down and fired-up my Words with Friends app on my phone. It’s addictive but I can justify it because I’m giving my brain a workout. I have also taking up reading novels in the old-fashioned manner: from a real book! I forgot how much pleasure I get from holding a book, using one of my cool bookmarks, and checking out the front and back flaps for information about the book and the author. I highly recommend it. Cooking In the last newsletter I contributed some of my favorite “go to” recipes which are easy and fun to make. Lately, I have experimented with new recipes, some from on-line cookbooks and others that I have created on my own. Marinated mushrooms, herb dips, BBQ chicken, beef ribs, and fresh citrus beverages using limes, lemons, oranges, and even grapefruit. I have also ventured out to one or two restaurants, but only to those who offer outdoor dining and restricted the number of diners (which as of July 15th is a requirement). What a treat! The Future Reflect back to March…you remember March? That was way back when we [optimistically] thought this may end in a few weeks, a few months at the most. In ways, it feels like we have turned the clock backward and it’s March all over again. Closing down certain establishments (which had barely reopened), kids at home testing their parent’s patience, parents working from home driving their kids crazy, running out to the grocery store before they run out of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, and asking ourselves that inevitable question: how long can we live like this? Despite the setbacks of being locked down again, I make an effort to look at the positive things that have come out of this situation: a vastly improved environment, realizing I can manage with less, and waving and smiling at people I barely know (see Part I of my series) which makes me feel good whether they return my enthusiasm or not. I highly recommend trying it (and don’t forget reading a real book)!