This is a blog post to tell everyone who still checks up on us that we are still here, still practicing frugality, permaculture and patience while we wait out this storm of disease and economic uncertainty and we hope you are doing your best in whatever aspects of life are important to you too. We’re also doing a lot of thinking about how we can be of service to others because as of right now, we realize that we don’t have much as individuals and as a society if we don’t have each other.
To be honest, it has been hard to find time, energy and motivation to sit down and write for this blog since our self-quarantine started back in early March. We were eager to share some of our tips and pointers before conditions everywhere got severe on how to stock up and be ready if things got much worse. We did not think it would get this bad, but are grateful that we were as prepared as we could have been and we’re just hoping things can stabilize for as many people as possible soon.
We are so grateful for being able to shelter in place in relative comfort. We realize we are fortunate, privileged, lucky, whatever you want to call it for being in a place financially and career wise to insulate ourselves from the effects of this global crisis. We have struggled with feelings of guilt as we live in a city and county that struggles with poverty and has been absolutely devastated by both sickness from COVID-19 and the economic fallout from businesses. We are also grateful for those that have been working throughout this disaster as essential workers, from the brave men and women in the healthcare and public safety sectors, to the public transportation workers to the folks keeping food available in the grocery stores and supply chains to and from.
I’ve always believed that recognizing emotions is important but not being driven by them is critical to a happy and balanced life. With that, we want to share our main observations of how self-quarantine has been affecting us as a family and individuals so far.
Gratitude Chases Away The Crazy
We have tried to limit our consumption of news on a daily basis as we’ve been hearing so much of the same trends towards things getting worse for a while. After we’ve more or less shored up our own habits and routines to maintain safety for our immediate family within our property, we realize that most other factors are out of our control and cannot be worried about.
We are both still working remotely 100% and are grateful for that. While we realize that the situations with our jobs could change without any notice, we must take advantage of what advantages we have now while we still have them.
Helping Others Feels Good
Knowing that we were able to prepare for this in the first place because we both work and had the foresight to plan ahead related to our FIRE goals, it’s hard to swallow that the great majority of people in our city and throughout the world cannot and have not prepared for something like this at all. Guilt is not a useful emotion. It shows its head and should be observed and learned from, but feeling bad about something does not actually fix anything. Action and intention can change a situation faster than showing that you’re feeling guilty about it.
This comes back to the topic of service. People walk by our property every day and comment on the urban farm we’ve built. Mostly as compliments, but I feel weird knowing some people can’t grow their own food forest. Maybe they cannot afford to do it or maybe they don’t have the physical strenth or ability. With this in mind we’ve committed to serving those around us by selling and donating fresh food from our garden when the time comes for harvest. We don’t have much else to offer people, that could help them but fresh food grown with love certainly has a purpose.
Small Actions Matter Big Time
Probably the three biggest sources of anxiety, for me at least, are related to keeping our jobs while adequately caring for our son. Add that on top of how we can help the most vulnerable people in our family and network without putting them and ourselves at risk. In regards to all of these, we’ve found the best we can do is to show-up fully and know that we can do only so much.
Our jobs have been beyond understanding in terms of shifting our work hours around caring for our son since we pulled him from daycare over a month ago. However we’re constantly battling back and fourth between how much we give our careers and how much we give our new full-time jobs as homeschooling teachers in this situation. As Mrs. Cat and I noticed early on in quarantine we were not setting good or clear boundaries with our work and were not paying full attention to Little Bear during the day. His behavior started to reflect this and we realized we needed to change. So now Mrs. Cat and I take 3-4 hour shifts working while the other does activities with Little Bear. While not being able to multitask or get a full 8 hour workday in hurts our productivity, we figure long-term it’s not as important as having a happy and healthy child. Plus now we realize and notice small advances he makes as a growing human being even more and it’s truly wonderful and worth it.
As for the anxiety of my extended family - I am doing my best by buying groceries for them and hoping they don’t go out.
Mrs. Cat and I have been doing a lot of talking this past month and a half. Like, way more than normal. Even with our busier schedules with less downtime we’ve focused on doing our best everyday, supporting each other when we need it and looking towards the future with hope.
We’ve stopped on a regular basis and stated how grateful for all that we have, first and foremost our health of the three of us and all the other ancillary good things we’ve managed to hold on to. This situation has also allowed us to recognize what we’re doing right and what we want to improve on. How often do we have the opportunity to have a close-up experience with our imperfections and blessings all at once?
Life happens so fast that we just glaze past the details day to day. If someone can find a bit of peace or self-realization in these hard times and act on it when things become more normal, the flowers will smell sweeter and the future will look brighter for sure.