Waking up has been hard. Mid-March, it was easy to begin the day early, optimistic that I was saving gas, relieved that I didn’t have to necessarily cross my Ts or dot my Is appearance-wise to do my work well, secure in the knowledge that I could stay home and not dive nose first into pandemic-related catastrophe. On the frivolous side: no frantic order packing before I had to rush off to make a reasonable commute, no scramble to find an unwrinkled shirt or make sure I didn’t wear the same pants 3 days in a row, no routine pressure to fluff in eyelashes or somehow try to make my hair look like it had been washed in the last few days.

As the months wore on, the novelty of the smaller work from home-related joys wore off quickly. The apartment, which had only been a little small in the beginning, felt suffocating. It became monumentally hard to maintain the same steadfast mix of optimism/everything-will-be-okayness that held so easily before. Every limb, however exhausted, was restless. If I slept in til 9 one day, I slept in til 9 for 2 weeks until I weaned myself into climbing out of bed an hour earlier, which lasted for another week until the cycle repeated. I had a panic attack and cried and tried to tackle the mountain of dishes we’d let pile up until my heart rate and breathing returned to an even keel.

It’s the smallest of victories, but today, I beat the dawn. I woke up and lay in bed marveling at the coolness of the room, started the morning by paying down a credit card at 5:15 am, and fed the cats and allowed myself the smugness of knowing I was moving instead of going back to sleep. The sky is still a tired, washed out grey-blue, but warmth is creeping in. My favorite candle is lit, a blanket is on my lap, a mug of espresso and pumpkin spice creamer is within reach, and a cat is at the window balefully staring out, so I join him and watch the growing influence of sunlight. I think about F. Scott Fitzgerald saying that life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall and what an immensely beautiful idea that is, to be able to begin again.

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