It was St. Paddy’s Day weekend. My husband and I were loading up the car to drop our kiddos off at my mother in laws before heading off to Delaware to spend the weekend with our best friends. We were getting ready to pull out of our driveway when our neighbor shouted across the street that things were beginning to shut down all over the country due to the pandemic. My husband and I paused, looked at each other, questioned our decision to go and ultimately decided to go anyway.

I’ll admit, it was a bit selfish but we hadn’t been out and about without kids in months and we really were overdue for a visit with our friends. I also think my husband and I both knew that we had to go then before we really couldn’t. So we made the trip to Delaware, but not without worry.

We were questioning if we should be out, if we were we too close to others, if everyone was using enough hand sanitizer and so on. To clarify — this was before masks were mandatory, restaurants were closed, and true quarantine began. After a few orange crushes, the worry subsided and we were able to have some much needed fun with our besties.

Flash forward a week — the world shut down and we were housebound. To say we were happy we went to see our friends was an understatement. We were so grateful to have spent time with them because it was months before we were able to do it again.

A few weeks into quarantine, people were getting antsy and rightfully so. People were posting on social media venting about the lack of human connection and the craving they had for social interaction. People were going stir crazy.

Meanwhile, my introverted, anxiety ridden self was so happy to be at home cooped up with my family. I didn’t feel the effects most people were feeling. Sure I missed my family, friends and loved ones. Of course I was upset that birthdays were occurring over zoom without the tradition of blowing out candles for fear of spreading the illness, but I was pretty content with the extra quality family time that came along with being housebound. I really couldn’t complain.

I took advantage of the downtime to focus on myself. I read books, started a new fitness routine, joined self-care society, journaled, meditated and ultimately found myself on a deeper, more intimate level. I focused on my own personal growth and really nurtured my self-confidence. I rediscovered the things that brought me true happiness. Through everything, I came to the realization that I have always had control over my own life. I started seeing that the things I desire are completely attainable and if I just put in the work and believe in myself, great things could happen. They will happen.

These new practices and new perspective bring me joy when quarantine gets overwhelming, stress rises and my inner toddler temper tantrum comes out because I can’t just up and go. Truth be told — I do want normal life back. I want to go on a dinner date with my husband. I want to stop worrying about the fact that my kids literally only see our house and our neighborhood for days or weeks on end. I want to take my kids to the park, go out to dinner, go to an amusement park, or go to an outdoor festival without having to worry and question my every move. Hell I just want to take my kids to the grocery store with me. It sucks – plain and simple – and damn, it feels good to acknowledge that there is a part of me that hates being housebound but I can also appreciate all of the positive that has come out of this experience as well.

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