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for a minute there, I thought I had COVID-19

Yeah, you read that right. I thought I might have had COVID-19. Here’s the story & how I feel today:

So here’s the deal: May is roommate transition time for many college/grad students. It comes with the territory of living in a house with up to four roommates. There’s jobs to do and life to live even in this crazy global pandemic. 

When my first new roommate needed to move in, it happened. Her parents came and helped and she moved in, no biggie. 

Until a couple days later when her dad started to experience COVID-19 symptoms. 

And a couple days after that when he tested positive. 

Here’s how I felt after receiving the news, in chronological order —

  • optimistic
  • nervous
  • angry
  • guilty
  • terrified
  • anxious
  • impatient
  • guilty
  • bored
  • sad
  • lonely
  • guilty
  • angry
  • frustrated 

repeat, repeat, repeat. 

I wasn’t scared for myself. I’m relatively healthy. I was scared that unknowingly I could have HURT (yes, hurt is the word) others. If I had been a part of spreading this virus throughout my community — knowing I probably could have been more careful. 

After her dad’s positive result, my roommate got tested. Even though she stayed in her room and wore a mask if she ever ventured to fill her water bottle (honestly, she’s a trouper!) — I stayed home, missing work and workouts, to avoid being in places with people until we knew if my new roommate also had covid (and therefore, the rest of us probably did as well) and let me tell you — it sucked. 

Due to Memorial Day Weekend, (and ridiculously slow communication between lab and clinic) we waited over 5 DAYS to get the result. My stomach was in knots. I was angry and lonely and scared (repeat, repeat, repeat). I went on long walks and blasted music to forget the looming feeling. I read a book all day to avoid consuming more media that made me nervous. I cried a lot. I tried to find tasks to fill the time. I watched the entire season of Sweet Magnolias in one day, leaving my bed maybe three times. I watched in frustration that down the block as there were people having a darty on the lawn. I saw stories of other people taking shots at the bars & I thought to myself… I was so careful and yet this is happening to me, when there’s people out there doing that?! It’s not fair. 

And that’s true — none of this is fair. A virus doesn’t care if it’s fair. It’s not fair to people who are being careful. It’s not fair to those who are working on the frontlines and helping to keep us safe. It’s not fair to those who need to return to work. It’s not fair to the people who have lost their jobs. It’s not fair to the seniors. It’s not fair to those who have lost loved ones or can’t be with their loved ones. It’s honestly just not fair… any of it.

But today, after a negative test result and a billion pounds off my shoulders — I can tell you that it would have sucked a whole lot more if I had unintentionally put other people at risk. 

This scare has really set my heart and mind on what I believe is right — wear your mask, wash your hands, and stay 6 feet apart. When able, stay home. When you can’t (for livelihood or sanity) be careful. 

Trust me — you don’t want to feel how I felt. 

And I didn’t even have covid. 


**I’d like to note that my roommate’s dad is feeling better every day and should make a full recovery, thank goodness.

new roomie #2 that moves in next week! she moved things in (with mask and gloves) while we all stayed in our rooms (after disinfecting every inch of our house) and we grabbed this picture through the window haha 🙂
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quarantine, the new personality test

I study communication. While there are many communication theories, I’m zooming in on Uncertainty Reduction Theory today. Essentially… we, as humans, aim to reduce our uncertainty by gaining information. (Yes, it’s typically in the frame of human communication and new people, but bear with me here.)

Right now, gaining information can seem to only increase our uncertainty. When will the pandemic come to a close? Will life return to normal? Am I a carrier? Will my trip to the grocery store make me sick? How long until I can hug my friends? The answer is simple: we really don’t know. Watching/reading/listening to the news only helps so much. We still have to live in uncertainty. And it’s uncomfortable.


I really like to take personality tests. I like to learn about myself. I think back on when I took the StrengthsFinder test or learned about my enneagram number (2w3, though I might be 3w2… I’m right in the middle!) and how I was fascinated by my results and what that meant about who I am and how I live my life, communicate, connect with others, thrive, etc. (Oh, and the love languages test truly changed the game for me in my personal relationships. The list goes on.)

Then I had this thought. This time — COVID19 + quarantine + social distancing — is like a personality test. What can we learn in this time of chaos, uncertainty, and isolation? What will we become aware of that we previously had not even thought about? Will what we learn allow us to elevate and change?

Every next level of your life will require a different version of you.

unknown

I think about this quote a lot. I think about this when I’m going through an uncomfortable change. When I’m doing something that I know is going to be good… but doesn’t feel so good right now, or takes a lot of work, or even makes me sad at the time. We’re learning, slowly but surely, how to advance to the next level of our lives.

I tell my Speech 101 students that the goal of their first speech is not to be perfect. When they give their first speech, they get feedback from their peers and from me that illuminates what they did — both good and bad. I say, “We have to become aware of our natural tendencies.”

Only when we become aware of our natural tendencies can we begin to make changes — to understand where we are, where we’re headed, and how we can make the adjustments to improve.


We take personality tests because we like to reduce uncertainty about ourselves. We’re gaining information in a way that seems easy — answer a few simple questions and unravel those answers.

We like to take the easy way. We don’t like to be uncomfortable.

Right now, in the chaos & uncertainty, we have an opportunity to use this time as a springboard to our next level. We need to become aware of our natural tendencies — who we are, why we do what we do, and what we require to live our best lives — and understand how to get better.

I asked my friends and followers what they had learned about themselves during quarantine. I stated that I discovered I have some sort of springtime allergies (who knew?!) when in reality, I feel that I’ve learned many things. Others reported they learned that they lack hobbies, motivation, or dedication to their current job or schoolwork. Others stated their need/want for people and human interaction, learning about their own tendency towards intro- or extroversion. We’re all learning different things every day.

Now’s the time when it gets uncomfortable. It’s time to figure out what our next level is and how we can get there. We can’t reduce our uncertainty about some things in this world — but we can create and maintain a deeper level of understanding within ourselves.

What are you learning about yourself? What’s your next level?

(Oh… and what’s your enneagram number?)


PHOTO: Porch Portrait Project by Erica Lynn Photography