A Quick Update

Well life is pretty crazy for someone who just moved across the country. And I’ve been reflecting on that lately.

Recently, someone asked me – had I known the future, and known that a pandemic was going to trap me in my home in advance – if I would have made a different choice? The answer there is twofold:

One, I don’t play what-if games. It’s a personal policy I’ve had for years. Second-guessing your choices only makes you miserable – in my experience.

Two, no, I wouldn’t. And that’s what I told her. If I had known what was going to happen – the new friends I would make, the new job I’d take that I already love, the church family I’d find, the city I’d live in and love with all my heart – I wouldn’t have made another choice.

Still, I understand the root of the question. Another question I’ve been getting a lot lately is this: How are you doing? I can’t imagine living alone right now.

So here’s the honest truth: I’m doing okay. I’m not thriving, by any means. Some days are harder than others. I have days where all I want to do is curl up into a ball and sleep. I have other days where I have so much bursting creative energy from being repressed that I end up staying up half the night painting, drawing, or writing.

But I’m thankful for where I am right now. I’m thankful for the lessons I learned along the way that have made me better able to cope with this situation.

I’m thankful that last winter we had “snowmageddon” in Minnesota, because that taught me two important lessons. One, cabin fever wears off after a few weeks. And two, I’m better suited to living alone during times when I can’t leave my home.

Don’t get me wrong – I love my former roommates. They’re still some of my closest friends. But some of those weeks last year were tough.

I’m also thankful for my friends and family. My mom has sent me more care packages in recent weeks than ever before in my life. In college I had to beg her to send me a care package. And since this whole thing started she’s sent me several things: homemade treats, face masks (some of which I’ve passed off to friends since I didn’t need all of them), and a sweater for my cat (that didn’t quite fit, but I got a good laugh out of it. Picture at the top of this post).

I’m thankful for my new friends, who make it a point to check in on me. I’m thankful for those of you who came to my building to have a social-distancing chat, relieving me after weeks of isolation. I’m thankful for those who picked up or drove to get me food, since delivery is a bit of an issue for me right now. I’m thankful for those of you who text to check in, and send me things to brighten my day.

The reason I sat down to write this is because I was feeling lonely and isolated. I miss my friends – not just the ones here in Seattle, but my friends back in MN, many of whom I haven’t heard from in quite a while. I hope you’re all doing well.

I sat down, intending to write about my feelings. And instead of whining about how I feel lonely and sad, I started writing about what I’m thankful for… turns out there’s a lot, even when I’m sitting in my home, after watching hours of TV all day.

So to those of you who have done things that touched me, I thank you. To those of you who haven’t – that’s fine! Right now is a hard time. You don’t have to feel bad for not reaching out to other people. I’m not good at that myself. There are plenty of people I miss who I forget to reach out to.

What we’re living through right now is collective trauma. Which is why I’m not being hard on myself for not writing, or not doing my laundry on time. I think that right now, having some grace for yourself and others is more important than ever.

I originally wrote this as a diary entry, and didn’t intend to post it. I needed to get some thoughts in order. But… I thought some of you might appreciate hearing from me right now.

I hope you’re all happy and healthy. If you read this far, I’d love to hear what you’re thankful for during this time.

Wishing you peace,

Riley

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