What I am Grateful for Right Now

Maltipoo

If there is one benefit to this quarantine for me, it has been a sharp focus back to what really matters to me and what I am grateful for right now. There are days when I get lonely. It has been weeks since I have had a meaningful conversation with an actual human. I am always worried about my sister, my parents and everyone else who is at high risk. The lack of baseball and travel has created a void in my life. I have even started missing riding the CTA trains regularly.

Like everyone, I want more than anything to resume to a least a resemblance of my “normal” life.

But when these thoughts and doubts start to creep in and take over, I make myself stop. I know I have nothing to complain about right now. In fact, I have so much to be grateful for. My friend Erin posted a photo on Instagram yesterday and there were three parts to her post:

  1. Things I wish I would have done before quarantining
  2. What will I be glad to be able to do again when it is over?
  3. What am I thankful I have the opportunity to do now that I wouldn’t have otherwise?

I responded to her post but I thought I could expand upon my answers and make it into a blog post. I am also going to change it up a bit add another item and insert it into #1: What I am grateful for right now.

What I am Grateful For Right Now

My job

I have always envied the people I see on social media who have the courage to sell everything they own, quit their corporate job and do their own thing or go travel the world with the belief that it will all work out.

Right now, I am thankful I have a lower risk tolerance than them. I see many of them mentioning on social media that most of their income has completely dried up over the past month. Many of those who travel were scrambling to get home so they could quarantine.

As of today, I still have a job that allows me to work from home 100% while maintaining the same level of income. This means I can still pay my mortgage and bills for another month. I’m so grateful for this and know how fortunate I am. I can also afford to give to others that need help, whether that be by ordering from local restaurants or donating to organizations helping those in need. I am so thankful to be in the position I am in.

My Pup

I know that she cannot talk back to me or help out around the house but I am so glad my Maltipoo, Stella, is here to keep me company. Her antics make me smile. She doesn’t allow me out of her sight, which is good (but also so annoying sometimes too :)).  She is the catalyst for all of the walks I am taking which ensures I still move and get fresh air.

My Family and Friends

If there is one thing that I hope continues after all of this is past us, it is catching up with friends and family over FaceTime or Zoom. This has definitely been one of the big bright spots over the past four weeks. I have spoken regularly with friends I usually don’t talk to regularly and been able to catch up and chat with family and friends I usually only see once or twice a year. I have appreciated the virtual happy hours. The smiles and laughs. I love hearing life updates and listening to struggles and concerns as well.

Spring is on the Way

It is still quite chilly here in Chicago most days but that doesn’t mean that spring isn’t coming. I noticed a couple of days ago that the grass is starting to turn green. The days are getting longer. And most importantly, the tulips and daffodils are starting to poke out of the ground and will be blooming soon! As I have mentioned in other posts, I always look forward to tulip time in Chicago. It instantly brightens up the city and make me so happy! It is definitely something I am grateful for right now.

Things I am Grateful for Right Now

Things I wish I would have done before quarantining

There are two things that stick out in my mind for things I wish I had done before quarantining:

  1. Go to the dentist – I had an appointment to get my teeth cleaned a few weeks ago. Long story short, it had to be rescheduled to March 30th. Well, clearly that was canceled So now I am well overdue for a cleaning and I can tell. I am looking forward to getting a new appointment scheduled when it is safe.
  2. Have Stella groomed and shaved. I haven’t had Stella shaved in a while but being with her 24/7 is wreaking havoc on my allergies. It would be so much better if she was shaved I think because she wouldn’t be picking up so many allergens in the grass during our walks.

What will I be glad to be able to do again when it is over?

Resuming “normalcy” is what I am looking forward to doing again when this is over. I want to visit and hug my family, in particular, my nieces and nephews. I’d like to work in the office where I can be around my coworkers. I learn so much from them and it is nice to chat and laugh with them. I’m looking forward to going out to dinner and to the theater with my friends here in Chicago. I miss this a lot because it is something I do often. I also look forward to going outside without worrying about being infected by others or possibly infecting someone else.

What am I thankful I have the opportunity to do now that I wouldn’t have otherwise?

As I mentioned above, being able to catch up with family and friends virtually that I do not see regularly has been one of the bright spots of this quarantine. I am very grateful for that right now.

Another thing that I am grateful for is the pause to the rat race of regular life. I’ve noticed when I go on a relaxing vacation (ie. to Hawaii) that I struggle to stop the constant chatter in my head about what I need to be doing now or planning next. I try to not make many plans when I go to Hawaii but just being still without feeling guilt is very hard for me. I always feel like I need to be doing something “productive.”

This quarantine has been a perfect time for me to step back and just be. I cannot go anywhere. My role in this is to stay home, remain out of the way and let others do their jobs. There is no thinking about what needs to be done right now. There is no planning for tomorrow or the next week. Because it is already determined.

I’m staying home and working Monday-Friday from my dining room table. I will take Stella for walks and make meals. I will read and blog and finish the puzzle that has been partially completed for a few days. That is it. There is nothing more. There is peace in knowing this. It takes my anxiety down a bit and comforts me. It quiets the chatter.

Final Thoughts

I mentioned this in one of my other quarantine posts but if you are struggling and need someone to talk to, please reach out to me or something else you trust. You can email me at [email protected] I would be happy to set up a chat over the phone for via Zoom. You are not alone. We can get through this.

Also, I want to send CONGRATULATIONS and big virtual hugs to my friend Julie and her new husband, Jeff. They got married yesterday. It was not the celebration they envisioned but it was wonderful nonetheless. I cannot wait to party with them later this year when we will celebrate in style.

I mentioned my friend Erin above. Along with posting great content, she is leading free virtual yoga sessions a few times each week. It is a great chance to move your body and calm your mind. You can find out more on her Instagram. Here is the link.

Reading, blogging and puzzling are a few of the things I have been up to while quarantining. If you are interested in reading about other ideas I have for keeping yourself busy while being bored and alone, check out my last post.

Finally, what things are you grateful for right now? I would love to read them so tell me in the comments below!

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What I am Grateful for Right Now

Life Lately – A Preconfinement Recap

Tulips in Chicago

Do you remember the song “How Bizarre, How Bizarre” by OMC? That is the song that keeps running through my head whenever I take a moment to think about life lately. I almost get whiplash when I realize how drastically life has changed for everyone over the past ten days.

From a work perspective, we went from being told to continue working in the office 100% on Friday, to splitting into A and B teams that would rotate weeks in the office on Saturday to everyone working 100% from home for the foreseeable future on Sunday.

Chicago is now under a “shelter in place” order. Only essential businesses are open. Over the past seven days, I have only been outside to get the mail, walk the dog and go to the grocery store.

And there is no end in sight. How bizarre!

To pass the time, I started working on a puzzle. You should have seen the look on my mom and sister’s faces when I told them I was working on a puzzle. I didn’t like puzzles growing up. Turns out, I still don’t really like them but for the record, I did finish the one I started. They recommended working on a blog post to pass the time instead. That’s sound advice so that is what I am doing. Here is a recap of some of the things I have been working on so far in 2020. 

Work Life

Our department is on the move!

Two weeks ago, my team moved to a temporary floor at work so our regular floor can be rehabbed. They will be changing our permanent floor over from cube life to “high performance” life.

What does “high performance” mean you ask? Well, it means we will be sitting at tables with long rows of workstations on them. The seating will be open, meaning that we won’t have an assigned seat and will sit wherever there is an open workstation each day. We will have a small locker for our personal stuff. Moving to high performance means they can get twice as many people on our floor.  This will save them money, which is always the goal.

Lucky me, I’m part of the group that was moved to a floor already set up for high performance. We are now sitting on a floor with the tech team. We finished one week in the new format and I survived. Is it ideal? No. But I will adjust.

Life Lately
My cube in our old office space. I miss it already. 🙁

New Office Space
Our new office space.

Public Transportation Life

If you’ve seen me within the past few months, you’ve probably heard me gripe about the construction the Chicago Transit Authority is starting along the north part of the red line. The plan is that beginning in late 2020, they will be closing two stations completely along the route and closing two others but building temporary stations in their place during construction.

Of course the station I use almost everyday is one that will be closed with no temporary station. And how long do you think it will be closed for?

I figured 12 months, maybe 18 months.

Nope! I was way off.

Originally they said three years.

Yes. Three years.

Since then, they’ve upped it to four years.

I’m not even sure what to say to that. Will it ever be reopened? And more importantly, how will I get to work in the meantime?

The second question is the one I’m trying to find the answer to. I can walk to the next station. It’s not a terrible walk at about 10 minutes. Easily doable when it’s nice and light outside.

But what about when it’s super cold or raining or dark?

Then I’m not sure. There’s a bus I can take that I will likely be frequenting more often when I work late or go out in the loop after work. Of course Lyft, Uber and cabs are available. And driving too. But none of them are ideal.

The Nightmare Nonprofit Situation

Another thing I’ve been working on is trying to resolve an issue with a nonprofit I used to be on the board for. There were unauthorized withdrawals made from the bank account by the executive director. The funds were used to pay for personal expenses. I won’t go into the specifics. I do believe it was a mix up (they have multiple accounts at the same bank and used the wrong card). However, to date, the ED has not been able to reimburse the account as I have been asking her to do.

It is such a mess. The situation has been going on for about a year and a half. Attorneys and CPAs are now involved. The Attorney General is next. It has caused a lot of anxiety and sleepless nights for me. I am hoping that we are finally getting close to a resolution. Once the funds are repaid, the nonprofit will be dissolved.

Overall, while I am very frustrated and angry about this, I am mostly just sad and disappointed. I consider the ED to be a good friend. She inspired me with her vision and ideas and is one of the most caring people I know.

There are so many lessons I have learned from this situation and so many things I will do differently before joining another board. I am trying my best to find the silver lining in this situation. I look forward to having it resolved so I can move on.

App Life

For the past year or so, I have been exploring an idea I have for an app. It turns out that being a female tech founder is really hard…for many reasons. It is also really lonely. Finding people who have done what I am trying to do and who understand what I am talking about when I discuss it is rare. There are so many decisions to be made. So much money is required. It is overwhelming a lot of the time. I spend all of my downtime thinking about it. 

Currently, I am still in the early stages of this process. I am fortunate to have made some great connections recently that have been very helpful. We are currently working on market validation and then I have to figure out how to fund development of the app. Hopefully, it will keep moving forward and I will be able to share more in the future. Stay tuned.  

It is Almost Tulip Time

In exciting news, on my last day in the office a week ago, I noticed that tulips are starting to pop out of the ground in the beds downtown. This makes me SO HAPPY! Chicago plants thousands of tulips and it beings me lots of joy to see them blooming in the spring. There are so cheery and colorful. I can’t wait until they are blooming (hopefully, we will be back to working in the office by then. Fingers crossed!). 

Tulips in Chicago
Tulips along State Street in Chicago, May 2019.

Life in Confinement

As I write this post, I am hunkered down at home like most other people I know. I spend Monday-Friday working from my dining room table with breaks to take Stella for walks. I find that I don’t walk away from my computer much when working from home so I make a point to schedule walks in to get some movement into my day.

Maltipoo in Chicago
My at-home assistant is quite lazy sometimes.

On the days I am not working, I have been cooking, napping, chatting with friends and family, watching “The Voice,” reading and being lazy. 

Several people have asked me if the current situation has impacted my travels. So far, it has not. Other than a quick weekend trip to Toronto in January for the app, I haven’t traveled in 2020. I do have a trip planned for June but at this point, it is likely to be canceled. That is okay. I can wait to travel until it is deemed safe for everyone (not just me). 

I want to end this post by thanking everyone who has reached out to me to make sure I am doing okay. The messages and texts have been very appreciated. The good thing is that I am comfortable being alone. I like my home so I am happy here and I have Stella to keep me company. That being said, if you need someone to talk to, please reach out to me. Feel free to email me at [email protected] I would be happy to connect and chat. 

Until next time, stay healthy and safe. And stay home! 

If you would like to keep reading, I recommended three good books to read while being confined to home in my last post. You can check it out here

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Life Lately