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What Living Alone, Not Hugging Anyone for 53 Days and A LOT of Self Reflection Looks Like

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I have talked about my childhood dreams of living alone before on this blog. It has been a thing for as long as I can remember. It wasn’t because I hated my parents or my upbringing, quite the opposite actually. I think it was because I would prove I was capable, smart and was worthy of true respect (which for some annoying reason does not automatically come once your new house keys are placed into your adult hands). Again my parents loved and respected me but I clearly have some self-confidence issues to work through. 

So in all of my years of fantasizing, you know what wasn’t a part of my magical “Kate Hudson in How To Lose a Guy In 10 Days Fantasy”?? A global pandemic quarantine. Short-sighted of me? I guess so. But a global pandemic came nonetheless and I was all of a sudden faced with the reality that I was alone and pretty in shock. Of course, my endless gratitude for video chats with friends and family was noted daily in my head but now I was being put to the task of inevitable self-evaluation. I also felt a little extra isolated due to the fact that while two of my close friends were in the same “alone” situation, most everyone else I knew wasn’t. I’m 32, so most of the people in my life in my age group are either in a pretty serious relationship, married with kids, or living with roommates (the ones with roommates are living in expensive cities like New York so roommates are basically required if you are single). However, one wonderful EHDer was also going through this in the same way I was (alone) and that beauty was Caitlin.

Normally living alone is almost always wonderful. We are HUGE fans. But then shelter in place was ordered and naturally, that perspective shifted a bit.

Please know that I know this weird time has likely made everyone look at what the eff they are doing with their lives. Or what they have become. Or how they deal with things, whether that’s by yourself in a small studio or with a big family in a big house. But Emily and the rest of the team were understandably curious what our experience has been like so that’s why we are here, to get maybe too honest about the lies we didn’t know we were telling ourselves (mainly me), what we have generally learned (or haven’t) and what is even relevant due to the fact that THIS TIME ISN’T NORMAL LIFE. Please join us because my god could we use the company. 

I’ll start.

I am not a stranger to being by myself. Within a two year period, starting about 5 years ago, I had moved to three different cities and while I had some friends within driving distance I spent a lot of time by myself. So I wasn’t worried that I was going to go into a deep depression for a lack of face to face interaction. Don’t get me wrong, quality time is my #1 love language so spending time with friends is truly one of my most valued things in the world. But I am real good at following the rules and knowing this wasn’t going to be “forever” I felt pretty ok.

The moment I started to spin out was when I realized I had zero supplies. I am telling you aside from (thankfully) having a safe place to stay and luckily getting my hair done the day before the world freaked out (ha!), maybe no one was less prepared to shelter in place than me. Then I had a realization…

I’m not a minimalist but instead a privileged 32-year old that can get mostly whatever she needs with a click of a button.

This realization hit me like a ton of bricks when in the initial frenzy of the quarantine I quickly realized that I was anything but equipped to staying inside for an undetermined amount of time. No food, little toilet paper, no crafts, and one readable book. This felt like a glass shattering moment. Here I was walking around, silently congratulating myself with this idea that I didn’t require tons of things to feel happy and that I wasn’t going to end up like my hoarding grandmother. I thought it was learned from my “life experience” since I had moved a handful of times (including internationally) which made my ability to carry a heavy loot nearly impossible. So anything that wasn’t precious to me, went. But guess who was my secret beautiful storage unit…the consumer marketplace. I didn’t need to hold onto things that didn’t “spark joy” because I could easily find something else that would. After talking over this idea with Caitlin she sent me this tweet that perfectly summed up this idea:

“Minimalism only works when capitalism/consumerism is in full swing. I miss that bag of fabric that would have made AMAZING masks.” – Anna Bulbrook

Now I am not saying that I am about to become a packrat (visually clutter makes me noticeable nuts) but I am absolutely going to take a much closer look at my need to constantly get rid of things “I don’t currently need.” I will no longer pat myself on the back for ultimately falling for a false sense of security that our system has led us to trust. How’s that for week one of being alone? Let’s keep going.

My affinity for comedy is deeper than just wanting to be in a good mood.

I am aware that I tend to stay away from deeply sad, heavy entertainment (not always, but most of the time). Not to pull the “dead mom card” but I think it definitely started when she was sick which is now 11 years ago. I don’t think of myself as someone who “can’t handle” sad movies, books, tv shows but when I’m recommended “a great movie” but I know it’s heartbreaking, I decide to protect my usually tender heart and turn on something lighter. I don’t avoid sad feelings, but when I am 100% in charge of my activities (which is a lot when you live alone) I take them in the smallest of doses, like a song or a short article. I don’t think I am a HSP which was a new thing I learned about last year, but I am truly coming to terms that there is likely a deep vat of sadness in me that I am not all that willing to tap into on the regular, afraid it might take me off course of my celebrated glass half full optimism. I promise I’m not boiling water, ready to explode the top off of the pot but I do think that I am avoiding (you’ll see it’s a BAD pattern) dealing with the darkness. And don’t get me wrong I love darkness and emotional depth. I think it’s a beautiful part of life which makes me even more irritated that I am clearly ignoring my own.

I’m avoidant, not busy.

This was THE thing I was going to really work on this year in my personal life. Despite my complete and utter exhaustion with my inability to deal with “hard things” head-on when I am the one not 100% in the right or that my opinion might hurt someone I love, I haven’t been able to stop. But guess what is a grrrreat excuse to putting those hard things off…life. However “life” or what used it to be, is no longer an excuse (it never was) or an obstacle. Now I get to sit in my self-built misery, paralyzed to move with LITERALLY zero excuses. I don’t even have a cute animal to blame it on. Nope, it’s just me.

Ok sure, we are in an unprecedented situation for our time and if there’s ever a time to give yourself a break, it’s now. But this is not new so what am I going to do? I honestly don’t know. I will say I’m working on it, and I really hope I do. If I find a magical hack or likely a good therapist, I’ll let you know.

Now for my last but definitely not the final lesson of this quarantine. Will they ever stop?

I didn’t fully appreciate my life.

Gross. But in a selfish confidence of good karmic rewards, I have realized a secret part of me felt that the gifts, moments, friends I had were earned which subsequently meant I was taking them for granted. Sure, I work hard to show the people I love that I love them but in no way am I automatically allotted reciprocation for good deeds. Again my privilege was glaringly apparent and if I take one thing from all of this mess is that I am owed nothing and I will do my best to appreciate every bit of life and the people in it.

Caitlin, you’re up.

HELLO, PALS. Every day, I sign in and I read your comments — the ones about your kids making a mess, about your partner helping you tackle a project (or not), about rearranging your living room with your roommates, about what to watch when you’re quarantined with your parents or in-laws — and I, an adult person who has officially been totally alone for 53 days, feel like I MISSED THE FREAKIN’ BOAT.

Y’all, it’s like NOAH’S ARK out there. (Yes, I did attend a private Catholic school, and yes, this is about as much as I remember from theology class…sorry, mom.) ANYWAY — everyone has coupled up (or…throupled up? Quadupled up? — you get it, PEOPLE ARE TOGETHER) and I’m on my raft for one. It’s my own 2020 take on Rose at the end of Titantic — there’s no room for Jack Dawson in this little 1 bedroom apartment. 

Most days, quarantining solo is pretty normal. I bet we’ve done a bunch of the same things — I’ve cut my own bangs. I’ve abandoned a craft project. I’ve texted an ex. I’ve texted the guy dated right before this — the one who never actually became a real ex — a whole lot. I’ve googled “is this COVID or allergies???” too many times. I’ve binged all of Tiger King. (I have not made banana bread or a sourdough starter, which is impressive. Also, can you believe that Tiger King came out AT THE END OF MARCH? In the same month that all of the Democratic primary contenders dropped out? It feels like it has been years.)

But here are the big differences: I had my last hug on March 9, which makes me really sad, and being alone for this long is starting to amplify some of my worst qualities. 

On Losing Contact

Honestly, this just sucks, and it makes me sad to write about. Today marks 8 weeks since I even grazed another person. Touch is so polarizing now: on one end of the spectrum is me, rewatching a boomerang of me hugging a friend and thinking about how I am going to glom onto the first person I see once it’s safe; on the other end of the spectrum is a friend of mine with a four kids under 7, hoping for ONE MOMENT without a child attached to their person. There’s no winning here for anyone — I think that universally, we’re all either alone or a little overstimulated. At least we’re all uncomfortable, though, which I guess helps? 

On Amplifying My Bad Qualities

This is kinda the big one for me, so let’s start with an anecdote: almost EVERY DAY, I make a box of macaroni and cheese. Instead of plating it (already a stretch, seeing as my only plates are Tupperware, because my design paralysis also extends to both table and flatware), I grab a trivet and eat it straight out of the pot at my desk in heaping spoonfuls. It honestly feels kind of primal and I think I may be scratching some itch in the weird hunter-gatherer part of my brain. I almost always finish the whole thing in under 6 minutes. 

And guys, there are so many Instagram stories and posts telling me that this kind of behavior is okay. They say things like “surviving is more important than thriving” and “so much love to everyone who’s trying” and “self care is doing whatever you need to get through this”….but I don’t think anyone was referring to completely devolving into a Neanderthal-like version of themselves. I am legitimately just leaning into being gross for grossness’ sake. 

Because I mean, I’m fine. I’m so lucky to be employed in a job I love (or employed in any job, period), in an apartment that makes me happy, with friends who care about me enough to check-in constantly. There’s no universe where I can say, “oh, I’m avoiding showering because it’s self-care.” I’m avoiding showering because I’m kind of lazy and I’m just capitalizing on my lack of social interaction for as long as I can. I always thought that with enough free time, I’d finally try and learn how to cook. Now, with LITERALLY all of the free time in the world, I am just too lazy to try. (My love affair with boxed mac and cheese continues.)

But it’s not just food, or bathing, or the general other horrifying habits I’ve developed — I’m starting to get EXTRA avoidant, with is kind of the opposite of what you’d expect. Outside of our daily EHD video meetings, I’ve refused (or slept through, oops) every Zoom or Houseparty invitation I’ve gotten since March 22nd. THAT’S TWO DAYS AFTER THE TIGER KING PREMIERE, you guys. FOREVER AGO. I’ve always been a little bit of a ghost-er (read: I am an enormous ghost — I have 1,820 unread text messages), but quarantine is just amplifying it. 

I’m alone, so you’d think I should want to talk to people — but I just don’t. There’s nothing I can talk about. Here are my personal major life updates over the past 2 months: I’ve spent 7 straight days watching a bruise on my leg go from dark purple to yellow. I’ve updated a notebook detailing new growth on my Pothos plants every day. It hit 91 degrees in my apartment. I’m thinking about buying a comforter that Emily recommended. I got a sunburn while sitting on my balcony. I start checking our EHD analytics at 5 AM because I have nothing else to do. I’m buying some jasmine because y’all recommended it to me. THAT’S IT.

Does anyone actually want to talk about these things? Even typing them was boring. (Are you still reading? Please don’t leave, I’ll try to be more interesting!!!) Everything I do feels more like a tweet — one and done — and less like something worthy of actual conversation, so I’m just avoiding chatting. (To that point, my Twitter has never been more active. I’m filled with hot takes like “every member of Joy Division looks like they could have been a math teacher,” or “how could Zooey Deschanel be attracted to both Ben Gibbard AND a Property Brother?”) 

But for the Most Part, It’s Okay

There are so many things that I really do miss. I miss distracting my coworkers with constant side conversations. I miss my daily lunchtime tacos and the weird friendships I’d forged with all the employees at our local taco stand. I miss doing the thing where you make intense eye contact with a person after someone else in the room says something weird. None of these are easily replicated or replaced when you’re living solo, and it stinks. It also stinks that my skin has never been clearer and THERE’S NOBODY HERE TO SEE IT. (And you just KNOW that as soon as this is lifted, I’m going to break out. THAT IS THE WAY OF THE UNIVERSE.) 

But for real — the idea of having to do this with another person seems terrifying to me. I don’t know how you all are doing this. I’m sure it’s my only child syndrome talking, but I can’t imagine two months in the same space as another person with no breaks. I need my alone time, and while this may be a little too much alone time (like, guys, last night I cried because I was moved by this Twitter thread about a girl writing letters with USPS employees), I’m just embracing it for now. ANYWAY, I’M FINE, HOW ARE YOU DOING? I want to chat in the comments. 

Ok, Jess again. Lastly, when this post was originally scheduled and mostly written when I was home alone for the long haul. But after 5 weeks and 2 days had passed and my dad asked me if I wanted to stay with him for a bit. After a lot of thought, dreams of some outdoor space/great cooking and a negative COVID test result (my dad, while a total badass, is 70, asthmatic and there was no chance I would not know to the absolute best of my ability that I was safe to be around him) I drove up North with zero bathroom breaks. A personal victory. Then with 37 days of not so much as a handshake, I hugged my dad and cried. The truly biggest lesson from all this is that all we have is each other and I know I am not alone in that. That lesson is evident regardless of your living situation.

Also, Caitlin get ready for the HUG OF YOUR LIFE when I see your super clear face<3

I think we are due for a little quarantine check-in as Caitlin just said. How are you doing? Better? Worse? The same? Have you had any good or bad epiphanies? We are here for you. xx

Love you, mean it.

Opening Photo Credit: Photo by Sara Ligorria-Tramo | From: Makeover Takeover: Jess’ Long Awaited (Small Space) Living Room Reveal

Fin Mark

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Christina

Jess and Caitlin-Thank You. Covid has made me so grateful for those that are talented writers among us. This post is like a hug across the internet.

Kate

“Covid has made me so grateful for those that are talented writers among us.” So true Christina.

THANK YOUUUUU!

Julie

Jess and Caitlin, you are two beautiful humans for sharing your souls like this! I think so much of what you’re feeling and experiencing is universal – we’re all questioning ourselves and our priorities and doing some (long-overdue) examination of our lives. We’re all (probably) being a little more gross, just because it’s now an option. We’re all a little more raw and vulnerable and tired. And, I think that’s okay, even if it’s hard sometimes. Know that you’re not alone in that, and that people in all situations are right there with you. Virtual hugs to both of you! You are lovely, lovely people. Thank you for sharing yourselves with us. 💕

Thank YOU, Julie. <3

Lisa

What a wonderful post. Thank you so much!

Kal

I really enjoyed reading this post and can 100% relate to both of your experiences. Hugs all around!

Keeley

Thank you so much for this!! As a newly single (broke up during quarantine, but weren’t living together) 33 year old, seeing everyone quarantining with their significant others and families is frankly… painful. It’s nice to know that I’m not “alone” (in experience, physically I am VERY much alone lol). I can totally relate to not having motivation to do any projects or cooking or zoom calls but I feel better knowing that others in my situation are having the same reaction. I can’t tell you what this post did for me. 🙂 xo

Lisa

I so feel you both on the privilege thing! I have been striving for a more clutter free life by purging. I stand by that for me, but up also see that a big part of my house clutter issue is avoidance of chores NOT being too busy. I think it’s going back to mindfulness for me. We all have something personal to work on. I definitely have a collecting craft/art supplies habit and have been spending more time considering solutions and projects and a small amount of time actually creating and organizing my work to be accessible. I am embarrassed that such simple tasks seem hard and my avoidance creates a more chaotic living environment for my family. Our house is tiny, so when I leave out an unfinished project it is bound to affect my son and husband. On that note, I’m going to get offline for an hour and tidy house. For Caitlin, the cooking thing… there has to be another friend you can create a challenge with to tackle cooking. Since you are in a hot place, fresh cold salad mixes could be a good place to start. Or breakfast for dinner from scratch. Good pancakes… Read more »

Ashley

Thank you so much for this! I too am on my own and as I listen to my friends and family complain/celebrate constant togetherness, I try not to share the other side too much. Telling a friend with 3 kids under 3, I’m worried I’m sleeping too much isn’t nice but I am really worried it indicates depression or some deep seated laziness or just that I’m human garbage 😬

Anyway, thank you SO much for making it a little less lonely for me today ❤️

J

<3 my therapist just gave me the thumbs up on my now daily naps. I’m usually in or on the verge of insomnia, and since I started taking naps I’m sleeping through the night. The working theory is that it’s simply a need for extra rest, because there’s this constant undercurrent of stress. So it could simple be normal to sleep more during a time like this!

That being said, I’ve been taking antidepressants for over 6 months, so I have that as a brain chemical …I’m trying to think of the word when you have bumpers in the gutters when you’re bowling and it’s not coming to me. It felt like a blow to my ego when I first got on them but now I’M SO FRIGGEN GLAD that we have this as medicine.

The point is that maybe you simply need the extra sleep, and maybe this is a really rough time and getting a little extra help would be a nice thing to do for yourself. Whether that’s therapy or something else. Be kind to yourself! :big-hug:

Maura

If you’re sad try Whole Foods, Plant Based, SOS-free. See Nutritionfacts.org on depression, Chef AJ, Dean Ornish, Dr. Esselstyn, etc. Life-changer.

isabelle

Lol what

I LOVE BOTH OF YOU SO MUCH. This is so beautifully written. I can’t wait to see your faces in real life when this is all over 🙂

THANK U MALGAL! Appreciate you not judging me when you facetime me and I’m eating straight outta my cookware!!!

Lindsay

“I think that universally, we’re all either alone or a little overstimulated. At least we’re all uncomfortable, though, which I guess helps?” – I literally do not know if anything more profound has been written on a design blog in like…ever. Thank you so much for sharing this non-design content and for willing to be open and honest. This was a very engaging and thought provoking read.

OMG THIS IS SO NICE. THANKS, LINDSAY. I might like, screenshot this and send it to my mom??? Made my day. xxxx

Margo

The line was awesome and accurate,,,

faith

Thank you for sharing your vulnerability with us!
Have been journaling and working on the stories I tell myself and where they come from (the holistic psychologist has great prompts for ‘future self journaling’ if anyone is interested). Also trying to guide virtual learning for my two teen boys and taking care of my elder parents. It’s a nutty time for sure.

Suzanne

Both of you are beautiful! I wish I could give you hugs. In my twenties, I loved living by myself in my studio with a sleeping loft, and I spent days without contact (and showers), but it was BY CHOICE! It’s understandable to want that independence and still want to interact with the outside world. Pandemics are not very cooperative.

Jess – My mom died about four years ago, and I also avoid really sad shows. When my mom was sick, we watched a lot of Hallmark movies. I don’t need shoes quite that idyllic, but I understand her attraction to them.

Caitlin – I have an only child. She’s 16, and she’d never leave her bed if I let her. And we just ordered a bunch of mac and cheese for her. Your description was very validating, because my husband worries her introversion could create problems with employability someday. And you clearly have skills and add great value to the EHD team.

Sounds like you and my mom would have a lot to talk about — I, too, would never leave my bed if it was an option!!! But THANK YOU — that is SO NICE of you to say 🙂

Casey

This is the most real article I have read about “quarantine”. Thank you for the honesty — I can relate on so many levels and feel some peace I’m not the only one. Sending hugs.

Carin

I just love this post, tons! Simply, thank you, from me… also living alone in a teeny San Francisco apartment since March 9.

Thank YOU, Carin 🙂

TRACI

Caitlin-

Only child here, checking in from the floor of my locked bathroom because between the husband and the 8 and 12 year old boys, THIS ONLY CHILD IS LOSING HER MIND!

This is the same spot that I too cried over reading the USPS letter girl story on Twitter.

So, same boat, but different boats because your boat is empty and I’m jealous and oh gosh I just really want to sail away alone on a boat now.

Yeah, I am not ok.

TRACI, I CAN ONLY IMAGINE. I know I’d be feeling the same way!!! When I think back on all the roommates I’ve had — even the ones that I have TOTALLY LOVED, or the ones I have matching tattoos with!!! — I’m still like, “there is no way I would have been emotionally equipped to handle that much time with any of those people.” THANK YOU for sharing with me — sending good vibes your way!!! Hope you get a little more raft time ASAP. xxxxx

Emma

This was such a wonderful and honest post. While I’m quarantining with my husband in our 800 sq ft apt, he works crazy long hours so I cook/eat most meals alone, watch most shows alone and head to bed alone.
I keep waiting for the bottom to fall out…. for the realization of what’s happening to hit and the sobbing to start….. but somehow it hasn’t. I vid chat with family and friends probably twice a week, get outside maybe three or four times a week and watch a lot of HGTV and somehow, I’m OK.
Jess, I agree that I’m definitelyyy not diving into super emotional or intense shows/books/articles right now. I feel like if I open those flood doors, I won’t be able to close them until this over. So in the meantime, I’m working hard at the job I’m still so very lucky to have, calling my mom a few times every day, cooking the most interesting recipes I can with what I have and clapping my heart out every day at 7 pm <3 <3

Jane

“Then with 37 days of not so much as a handshake, I hugged my dad and cried.” I’m so jealous. I just welled up. Thanks for writing. <3 And thanks for being safe with your journey up north and making sure you got a negative test result first. You have no idea how encouraging it is to read about someone being as careful as I am right now.

Kate

I loved this. Thank you both.

Nicole

I feel this all very hard. I’ve been quarantined alone for going on 8 weeks (after returning from a Caribbean cruise in March, fun story!). I am a major introvert, and was like I got this, this is my sweet spot. Until I utterly lost my shit on Saturday and weeped for hours out of nowhere. Maybe I shouldn’t be listening to the new Fiona Apple album right now :/ I also have been pretty avoidant even though I know its that contact I need. Feel like I missed the boat too on all the at home workouts and book reading and sourdough baking, but trying to remember to give myself some grace. We’re all doing our best we can I think.

Patricia

What everyone alone is thinking but isn’t as articulate. Hugs to you both.

Connie

My last hug was also on March 9th. I agree – it sucks! I hope I’m sane when it’s okay to be around people again.

ME TOO, CONNIE. Readjusting is going to be WILD.

Emily

I feel like I could have written this blog post! I’m in a bit of a different situation, thankfully with a house of my own and plenty of outdoor space, and a big stash of craft supplies & toilet paper, but still live alone. And have for most of my adult life. And honestly haven’t even given it much thought until NOW. Umm. talk about avoidance! Wishing many hugs and kisses for us in the future.

Kim Pollard

Thank you so much for writing this. Beautiful words from both of you.

Clarinda

So real.. so raw! Thank you both for sharing!

@Caitlin – oh boy I can’t wait for the day when I can come back and give you the biggest snuggle! love you 3000 ❣️

AHHHHH HI, CLO!!! Guys, this is my friend from real life!!!

I LOVE YOU, THANKS FOR READING 🙂 <3

Samantha

This is just the cutest thing ever.

Stephanie

I’m in a similar situation, living alone for 2 years now and for the past year in a new state. I felt really alone when my workplace said we would be shutdown for 2 weeks (ha more like 5 now). That same day faced with the thought of being in my home all alone, no friends to hang out with, no one to see and talk to, I called family after my last day at work and drove back home. I spend 4 out of these past 6 weeks with family. I ended up being home alone for 14 days before going back to work and felt strange. I completely relate to what you are both experiencing, questioning my life choices, why did I take a job in a state where I have no family and only knew a couple of people. It’s also made me realize, I love being around people. I mean really love being around people. I am not someone who can be alone. Normally I enjoy having a quiet night at home but that’s only because I spent the last 6 days with friends and needed a break. Thank you for letting us know we aren’t… Read more »

erin

this was refreshing to read. some days it feels wrong to talk about what it’s like to be living alone during this mess–only because so many people make comments about how they wish they were living alone, or how nice this must be for those of us living alone. i like to live alone! been doin’ it for years. but seriously, y’all–i need to be touched. like a big old hug. sometimes my skin hurts and it messes with my head–i keep having dreams about being hugged.

i’ve had to have in-person meetings with a colleague a few times in the last month and a half, and last week he asked if he could give me a high-five if we washed hands. y’all, i almost cried. i felt so seen in that moment.

lots of love to fellow soloists! and hopes and wishes for lots of hugs in the near future!

Abbie

This is so good. Thank you <3 I'm at home with my partner and dog, and they're wonderful and I love them to pieces, but also I did not sign up to see them and only them 24/7 for MONTHS (and we DID NOT pick our apartment anticipating the need for two acoustically separate home offices). I'm going to ugly cry and fall apart whenever I get to hug a friend.

EW

Beautiful! I think everyone is having such intense experiences. Some we may look a little like our own but mostly not. It’s unendingly fascinating. Thanks for sharing your stories.

Today is Day 51 for us. Two full-time jobs, a four-year-old, an eight-year-old, two dogs. And, wow, we are full up on crazy. We are exhausted by the working and educating and walking and responsibly outside-ing. And, this is life now.

Maegan

Same!!

Jill

Thank you for beautifully capturing the feels of solo quarantine. Can’t wait for hugs. Thank you both 💜💜

RuthAnn

I, too, live alone and can relate to what you have so honestly and articulately written. I’m a psychoanalyst, so working online, hour after hour, staring carefully at my laptop screen. Then I’m all alone.It feels so strange to work this way, yet am grateful to look after my clients.
I have felt ‘listless’ and am interested that a number of clients and friends have described the same experience – lots more free time coupled with no motivation to do anything useful. I gaze at the little stack of books I’d intended to read these past 8 weeks, and rest my tea cup on the stack.
Thanks for your candor and do take good care!

Heidi

Bravo ladies! You have so beautifully captured the experience of solitude and introspection under this extreme circumstance. Your experiences are relatable. I so appreciate you sharing and writing. Please keep writing!

Caitlin

Hey fellow Caitlin,

I hear you on the crying at the little things. I have been so weepy lately. I haven’t seen my sister in weeks and today I dropped off her birthday present on her front stoop. She and her family stayed inside while I briefly chatted with them from their front lawn, with my mask on. As soon as I got back in my car I started crying. I don’t even know if they are happy tears or sad tears or plain old humanity tears. Or just an acute awareness of the different-ness of how it is right now, in this time.
Beautiful post, Jess and Caitlin!

F

Loved reading this. I’m alone too and need skin to skin contact SO badly.

Anne

Love this post. Pandemics are hard for everyone for very different reasons and I love that you’ve captured that.

Becca

I’ll admit, I usually trend toward the design related posts. But I am SO glad I stopped and read this this morning. Thank you for sharing! Its just my husband and I, and we went into this pandemic thinking we were both introverted (knowing I was slightly less so), what we have learned is I am waaaaay more extroverted than I led on and I am driving my husband nuts with my antics, like quietly crawling on the floor into his office giggling for no reason crazy. Will he still love me when this is all over, time will tell. 🙂

Nina

At first I was videocalling a lot, not so much anymore, I even skipped my once weekly family video call because I wanted to go hiking that afternoon (oops). I definitely get the “there’s nothing to talk about” feeling and instead have embraced the fact that for the next month or so I will only talk to most of my friends and family via the occasional text or postcard. Much better to lean into the lockdown life and continue my Eurovision marathon with my roommates. Having said that, I cannot wait to hug my baby cousin (I say baby but he’s actually two) or to get in a workout or a drink with a friend!!!

Leigh H

Thank you so much for sharing. Sending hugs to all…. and I am totally interested in hearing all about the daily nonsense. And what Jasmine item should we be buying? A plant, perfume, what?

DTiz

The Anna Bulbrook comment is still reverberating in my head a day after reading.

Roberta Davis

Jess, I’m glad you went to stay with your dad. I don’t think I could stand to be alone, completely alone, for months. I have a neighbor, a single woman in her 70’s, who is a virtual “family” with another neighbor, a couple with a small child. Every day that kid goes to her house and they play, ride bikes, throw balls, draw on the street with chalk. At first, I was grumpy and wanted to report them to the police (that’s a thing we can do here- there’s an app for it). But then I realized that I myself am close to “cheating” because a friend and I have been dropping off home-cooked foods and newspapers for each other the whole time. She leaves it under my light at the front of garage, or I drive over and leave on her front doorstep and she comes out and we stand 10′ apart in the driveway and talk for a few minutes. This is an elderly couple that we used to see several times a week at the same restaurant, and who stays at the same property as us in Hawaii- sometimes at the same time. Her husband has fallen… Read more »

Kandy

Thank you for this. I’m also sheltering alone and am a huge introvert. But OMG I miss hugs. I broke down and got a bunny. Best decision ever!

Jenms

<3

Katherine

This is one of the most thoughtful and thought-provoking COVID dispatches-from-home that I’ve read!! (And like everyone, I’m reading approximately a million a day.) Thank you so much for sharing this <3

Laura

Thank you for sharing! I am also “socially distanced” alone- my wife and I separated a few months before the pandemic hit, and I was just starting to figure out life as a single person when all this hit. There are days when it would be REALLY nice to have some distractions/easy ways to avoid all the feelings. (I hear you, Jess).

I’m getting concerned about “re-entry”, and not just about fitting into my work pants after the bake-a-thon that I’ve had here. But how to have an in-person conversation again. How to meet people when things are open, but not back to normal. How do you start dating or making new friends in the denouement of a pandemic, where getting together might still be dangerous?

Kelly

I think about the dating after COVID thing a lot. I’ve been out of the dating game for a long time, and as soon as I was ready to start trying again, the pandemic hit. I’ve also realized that adjusting to life after the quarantine is going to be a lot harder than adjusting to being quarantined was (for me, at least).

Mandy

This is a wonderful post and i thank you both for sharing your experiences BUT i cannot stop thinking about, “how could Zooey Deschanel be attracted to both Ben Gibbard AND a Property Brother?”…so true! I’ll Houseparty discuss that with you for hours!

When the stay at home order began, I thought that I would finally have time to start drawing, read more books, and get the 6-pack abs I’ve always wanted. Fast forward to now and I am still me–I’m the same person from before the pandemic, and that person never drew, barely read, and hates crunches. I am, however, finding emotional refuge in the things I’ve always loved–for me that is cooking, baking and DIY projects around the house.

On a side note, I am extremely proud of myself for finding a way to procure groceries without stepping foot in a grocery store for the last 9 weeks. That apparently has become my new hobby. Hot tip–many local restaurants have become small grocery stores by selling food to customers directly from their suppliers. Buying groceries from my fav local restaurants makes me feel like I am somehow helping them stay afloat during this difficult time.

Hugs to everyone

Mallory

As a fellow home-alone quarantiner I really appreciate reading about your experiences!

Sarah

Thank you for sharing! That dad hug hit my heart. I just feel like I need to write this, not in a weirdo way, but in a small voice in my head way, that encourages me:

i love you

Kelly

Wonderful post, Jess & Caitlyn! I relate – big time! Hang in there.

Tracey

Thanks, ladies, for such an honest post. It is so hard to be in just about every situation. Each situation is unique, and I am sure that most people have fantasized, in one way or another, about being in someone else’s situation/shoes. I have been home since March 13 with my 20 yr/old daughter (she had to return from her study abroad program in Spain early) and my husband who is working from home. I am an Interior Designer, so my job is pretty much on hold for now. I go through the whole range of emotions-sometimes all in one day! I am grateful to have the two of them with me, but I miss my other two daughters who don’t live here. I miss people and being able to just go anywhere! Some days are productive and others are very not productive, but my daughter is a very positive, optimistic soul, so it is hard to wallow around her. I feel guilty…a lot. Sometimes I want to run away and just be alone, but I know that is not any better. I am grateful that you guys shared your story with us. Hugs, and hopefully some real ones coming… Read more »

Nic

Caitlin, FYI, there’s an entire series on YouTube dedicated to reviewing various box mac and cheeses from around the world. I’m talking hundreds of episodes. If you search for boxmac it should come up. You’re welcome.

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