Coronavirus: It’s Hard Even for Those of Us Who Have it Easy

It’s wearing on me. I know I am not alone. I know how much I have to be grateful for.

I am committed to flattening the curve. My family and I have done literally all we can. We went 19 days between shopping trips. We have seen only each other in that time. I am in awe of those working on the front lines right now- the doctors, nurses, grocery store clerks, truck drivers, pharmacists… they will forver hold their rightful title as heroes. My family is young and healthy. We are not at great risk. We love others though, so we stay home.

Still, it’s wearing on me. I miss my family. I miss my friends. I miss running to the store because I forgot the basil. I miss chatting with the woman in aisle 6 who is also looking for pancake mix.

I miss swinging through starbucks for an iced coffee and out-of-the-blue stopping by our favorite local bakery for a treat. I miss the excitement that typically comes from the change from winter to spring- looking forward to Skip’s Hamburger Stand opening and  Hodgies Ice Cream . I miss perusing through books at the library and talking with the librarians about what books they are excited about ordering.

I miss being able to say “YES! Let’s go!” to my daughter when she comes to me with wide excited eyes asking to go to Home Depot to get fort building supplies. God. I really miss that.

This is hard. Even for those of us with the most privilege, it’s hard. It could be worse- so much worse. I know this is true and everyday I practice gratitude for how plain lucky I am.

Still, this is really, really hard.

Maine. Photo Credit: Author

Technology helps. Being able to video chat with loved ones and watch concerts offered generously by artists helps. Understanding that this is the whole world offers some comfort, solidarity. These things make this easier, but not easy.

Admitting that this is wearing on me- that I am feeling sad and missing the life we could not help but take for granted does not mean I am less grateful. It does not make me less appreciative of the incredible acts of love perfomed by our healers on the front lines. It does not mean I am going to stop staying home or going to the store more than every couple of weeks. All I am doing is admitting that it is wearing on me and acknowledging that I know I am not alone.

Arizona. Photo Credit: Author

It’s okay to say that. It may be what seperates us out from the crises our grandparents lived through. Rather than shutting down conversation about how hard this is even for those of us who are just being called to “sit on our couch”, we can do our best to keep our own mental health in some sort of check. For me, that starts by admitting that I am feeling lonely, disoriented, and having trouble finding joy as I usually do.

Of course I am. Of course you are. It is right that we feel this way.

Nobody really knows how or when this will end but we know it will end. We know we will once again venture out our doors forgetting that we were ever held behind them. We know that in short order we will be standing in line for those curly fries or ice cream cone with no taped lines forcing us 6 feet apart.

We know that in the not too distant future we will hug our loved ones (imagine what that will feel like?!), pick them up for a ride, invite them to dinner, and be filled with a new and overwhelming sense of gratitude and joy for being together- for the simple act of spending time with those we love.

The iced coffee and chocolate chip scone will taste different- richer, sweeter, more like love. I suspect for a while our eyes might water with the sheer beauty of being able to order extra whipped cream from a real person standing in front of us.

Jelly. Denver, CO. Photo Credit: Author.

This is hard. We will get through it. Personally, I believe we will come out to a world we never could have imagined. A world where we remember to appreciate artists and healeres and grocery store clerks. A world that’s a little bit slower, more thoughtful, and kinder. A world filled with more gratitude than any of us have ever lived in.

Not everyone will be in that world with us. That is why we will never be able to say that any of this was worth it.

We will live and love on, though. We will take those trips and walks and pick strawberries and blueberries. We will slather our kids in sunscreen, grab the beach bag, and head for the car, momentarily getting caught up in the moment. Forgettting.

Then, it will hit us like a wave, and we will remember.

We will remember what it was like to not be able to leave.

We will remember what real loneliness is.

We will remember those we have lost. 

And we will pause.

We will soak in that moment differently- that banal, mundane, nothing moment of slathering sunscreen and grabbing a beach bag filled with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and we will feel grateful.

Because now, we know. For the first time in most of our collective lives we have learned what it means to savor, to not take things for granted, to appreciate the tiny little moments that make up this beautiful life.

Mojave Desert. Photo Credit, Author.

But it does not feel beautiful now. It feels scary and anxious and overwhelming and it’s wearing on me. It’s wearing on you too, I know.

It’s okay. I am not alone. You are not alone. It’s wearing on all of us. But we keep staying home so that more people can invite their loved one to dinner when this is over. So that more people can hug their mom and son and aunt.

So we find it in us to keep on even though it feels like we cannot possibly- because we love others that much. We are seeing a humanity that is new for most of us. Though this feels like the ugliest of times, the beauty of this truth seems to color over some of that darkness.

As we enter what appear to be the most horriffic few weeks of this pandemic for those of us in the United States, I will look for the helpers and the beauty. Also though, I will be honest with myself -and others when it’s not burdening them- about how hard it is. Because this is really, really hard.

 

Jen Keefe is a Voice Over Talent and Podcast Host. She lives in NH with her husband, two kids, and two guinea pigs. She’s awesome at handstands in the pool. Click here to hire Jen’s voice.

Coronavirus: I Love People So I Will Stay Home. I Hope You Will Too.

I was not going to post here about the Coronavirus. I wasn’t going to share that my husband and I have decided to self isolate our family for at least two weeks. I’ve changed my mind. I have decided to share that we are self-isolating so that others know they are not alone.

I spent the end of the week preparing for self-isolation, and last night, my husband and I decided that this was the responsible choice.

Neither of us is panicked. It seems likely that if we get the virus we will be fine. You know what though? I love a whole lot of people who might not be if they get it. I also love people who have people who they love who might not be okay if they get it.

I love people going through cancer treatment right now. I love people who are older. I love people with underlying health conditions. I love people who also love people like this.

I love people I don’t even know- people who might not be okay if they get the virus. And so even though my husband and I and our kids will likely not even know it if we have the virus, and even though I suffer from some pretty serious mental health issues that are exacerbated by isolation, we are self-isolating.

Best case? Nothing gets “that bad” and we never know if it is from so many of us making these sweeping and generous efforts, or something else.

Worst case? The article below is accurate and enough of us aren’t buying it.

One of the ways I manage my mental health is to use resources and people in my life to discern fact from fiction. I have spent a solid 4 days doing that to come to an intelligent and responsible decision. My husband has also spent time, independently, learning and evaluating. We both came to the same conclusion: we are not afraid. This is not a fear-based decision. It just feels like the only responsible one to make. So we are self-isolating for at least two weeks.

Health care workers, law enforcement, the National Guard, our military, are not able to self-isolate. You better believe I am also making this choice to flatten the curve for them.

I love people, and right now love looks like an empty stadium, and empty bars and restaurants (while buying gift cards if we can), and empty malls and knitting circles moved to video chat.

It looks like staying home and finding a way to send money or supplies to a food pantry that keeps everyone safe. It looks like people who are in a space at the same time keeping several feet between them and washing hands and NOT LEAVING THE HOUSE IF WE DON’T FEEL WELL!

It looks like being okay when someone makes fun of you for engaging in the practices that have been recommended because you know it is a choice out of love, not fear.

Right now love looks like preparing your family for a couple of weeks and leaving the rest of the toilet paper for your neighbor. It looks like forgoing the haircut and dealing with nails that desperately need a fill and a face without your usual make-up.

Right now, love looks like remembering that we really are a “we” and that together, the experts tell us we can make a significant difference in how many people live and how many people die in the United States from Coronavirus.

While we wait for the peak to hit us here in the US, we send love, warmth, and gratitude to those in China and Europe who are at ground zero.

This all feels scary, but it’s really not the end of the world. The thing is though, someone’s world will come crashing down when they lose a loved one to this virus. It already has.

If I can take action that will reduce that number, and increase the number of people who can get treatment when needed, I will. Not because it’s better safe than sorry, but because we already see what is happening and experts are asking that we do just this.

I hope you will too if you can. Even though it’s hard.

Things to Do During Coronavirus Shutdown from Artists, Musicians, and More

Things to do during coronavirus shutdown.

What a time we are living in! Yes, it’s scary and crazy but look at all the incredible offerings artists, curators, educators, and planners are making avaialable- many for free! So while we are being responsible and social distancing at home, let’s explore the world, the arts, remember that we are all in this together, and check out these things to do during the coronavirus shutdown!

If you know of other cool things please share them in the comments. Regarding the organization of this list, or lack thereof, I was planning to organize this list by type of offering, then I changed my mind. Poke through. Look at all of the offerings- you may find something you enjoy that you wouldn’t have thought of! 

Virtual Musem Tours

Love the museum and miss going? Love the museum but hate the crowds? Well, you are in luck! Click here for 12 virtual museum tours!

Color the Collections of Over 100 Museums- for Grown-Ups!

Over 100 museums invite you to “Color Their Collections” with Free Coloring Books for Grown-Ups! Click here.

Fun and Free Science for Kids (and their grown-ups)!

Open and Go Lessons that Inspire Kids to Love Science. Click here. 

Art and Drawing Lessons for Kids (and grown-ups, too!). 

Welcome to our family YouTube channel, Art For Kids Hub! We love doing art together and hope you follow along with us. Many of our lessons are perfect for any age, all you need is a few supplies! Click here.

Met Opera Free Streams

Met launches “Nightly Met Opera Streams,” a free series of encore Live in HD presentations streamed on the company website during the coronavirus closure. Click here. 

Learn to Type for Free

Here is a simple and free way to learn to type. Click here. 

History Crash Courses

Fun and digestable hisory lessons (and let me tell you these really are not just for kids!)

Tons of awesome courses in one awesome channel! Nicole Sweeney teaches you sociology, Carrie Anne Philbin teaches you computer science, Craig Benzine teaches film history, and Mike Rugnetta is teaching mythology! Check out the playlists for past courses in physics, philosophy, games, economics, U.S. government and politics, astronomy, anatomy & physiology, world history, biology, literature, ecology, chemistry, psychology, and U.S. history.

Click here for Crash Courses for older kids. 

Click here for Crash Courses for younger kids

Here’s a super helpful podcast with Roya Dedeaux, Marriage and Family Therapist, about how to parent during coronavirus. It’s also helpful for those who are not parents but are feeling afraid or discombubulated.Listen here:

Learn to Play Piano!

Here is an online resource to learn to play if you have a keyboard or piano. Click here. 

Scholastic Free Learn at Home Resources

Fun activities for kiddos while they are at home- free from Scholastic. Click here. 

Free Memberships for Kids to Online Subscription Sites

Kid Activities Blog has already done the work on this one so visit their site to see the resources- there are so many great ones! Click here. 

DIY Projects for Badges

Thousands of DIY projects with step-by-step videos. Marketing is geared toward kids but don’t let that stop you if you are a grown-up! Click here.

Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems!

That’s right! Join Mo Willems daily to doodle! Click here.  

The Social Distancing Festival

“The Social Distancing Festival is an online artist’s community made to celebrate and showcase the work of the many artists around the world who have been affected by the need for social distancing that has come about due to the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).” Click here. 

Richard Simmons Workout

Oh my gosh! When my friend Amanda posted this I broke into a huge smile! How fun! Click here. 

15 Broadway Shows and Musicals You Can Watch On Stage From Home

What an opportunity! Click here. 

Ride Disney Rides From your Couch!

Thanks to Romper . com for putting togehter a list of rides we can ride from home! Click here. 

NASA MAKES THEIR ENTIRE MEDIA LIBRARY PUBLICLY ACCESSIBLE AND COPYRIGHT FREE

Whether you like to play around with photos, use them for wallpaper, or marvel at them, NASA Has give us a real gift! Click here. 

Tour US Parks Virtually

Thrillist has a list of the parks as well as tips for how to use the site- thank you Thrillist! Click here. 

450 Free Ivy League Classes You Can Take from Home

Whatever your iterest, you can surely find something that occupies and fascinates you! Click here.

From boot camp to yoga, YMCA launches 60 free online classes for people stuck at home

Fun for anyone in the family who wants to move. Click here. 

A List of Virtual Concerts to Watch During the Coronavirus Shutdown

I really wasn’t sure how this was going to work. How could these musicians perform a live conert without a crowd? After watching the Dropkick Murphy’s on Tuesday though, let me tell you, they are doing it. Absolutely amazing! Click here for the list. 

If You’re Stuck Inside, Might As Well Enjoy This List of Animal Cams

Okay, this is awesome! Click here to feel an immediate sense of peace and joy by watching animals go on as though all is right in the world.

What other cool things to do during coronoavirus shutdown have you found? Will you share them in the comments? I’ll keep adding to this list as I find things, too. 

 

New Hampshire Voice Over Talent Settles on Seacoast

New Hampshire Voice Over Talent Settles on Seacoast

Formerly of Denver, Colorado, Jen Keefe, Voice Over Talent has settled on the seacoast of New Hampshire.

Jen understands that much of your resources, energy, and time are invested in your project and she is honored to be a small part of bringing it to fruition. Whether you are looking to have your training video narrated with a friendly and authoritative voice, your welcome collateral delivered from the woman next door, or another goal entirely, Jen’s professionalism will make this part of the project easy.

Available for in-person sessions throughout the New England Area or from her broadcast-quality studio worldwide, Jen loves working together with her clients to create the outcome that will reach listeners.

You can listen to her voice by clicking here and contact her by clicking here