Molly finds connection and luxury while sheltering in place in California

It’s been three weeks since the Bay Area ordered a “shelter in place.” I’ve been working from home — cooking, cleaning, organizing, and reflecting.

I am well aware of the fear in the outside world at the moment, and so I have come to deeply appreciate and even enjoy the luxuries of being “stuck” at home.

I wake up every morning at 7:25am. As a reluctant lifelong night owl (I hear it’s genetic), I relish every minute of morning sleep. It takes me five minutes to get out of bed, feed my cat Dora, shower, and put on my comfy sweater, leggings and cozy socks. At 7:30am I am on my daily team meetings for work when each of the eight team members provides the others with a quick run through of our goals and tasks to complete for the day. I enjoy these meetings. I feel connected.

It’s quiet. It’s so quiet. I’m focused. Wait, I have to give Dora some attention… Okay now I am focused. It’s a different type of focus. As a woman working in an office, meeting with co-workers and clients, I am always focused on my appearance. It takes a lot of time and energy to look beautiful! However, lately, I haven’t given much thought to whether my hair is frizzing or whether I’m having a “fat day.” I’m getting work done, on the phone with clients, and every 45 minutes or so move over to my yoga mat, next to my desk, for a couple of stretches.

On my off time I am writing, painting, reading, catching up with old friends and cooking healthy food. I enjoy daily 5pm walks or runs to the park where I carefully pass my walking neighbors, nodding to each other 6 feet apart. I sometimes feel like I am in one of those health & wellness silent retreats. I feel the stillness. I notice the beautiful trees with blooming flowers, the fluffy white clouds, and the teddy bears in the windows.

Tim returns most evenings at 8pm, like returning from the battleground. He owns a bakery – an essential business. I point him straight to the bathroom to disinfect, shower and change clothes. I then prod him with questions – What’s it like out there? What do you see? Did you bring me any cookies?

What will the new reality of post-Covid look like? Will we ever shake hands again? How will the healthcare system change? Are we going to spread out from our cities and work more remotely? Are we going to appreciate our health and take care of our bodies? Will our bonds with family and friends become more cherished? Are we going to wake up to what is really important to us and to our world?

I do miss my co-workers and social and cultural activities, but I know they will return. In the meantime, I am content to shelter in place.

Molly Newborn lives with Tim Turi in Sunnyvale, California. She is the daughter of Barbara Moser.

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