The past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions. I have felt everything from confidence that this wasn’t as big a deal as some people were saying to being absolutely paralyzed by fear and the thought of what the future holds. As we try to get used to our current situation, I absolutely refuse to call any of this “our new normal”. Literally nothing about any of this should be considered normal.

Now that we are about 3 weeks into our California-mandated order to Stay At Home and self-isolate and practice social distancing and all the other new terms we’ve suddenly had shoved into our daily vocabulary, I’m feeling mentally better. I went through the phases of grief realizing that for the time being, things are changing and there’s nothing I can do to change or prevent it. I can only choose how I react to it.

It’s very easy to fall into a reactionary mindset. To be so consumed with media and looking at numbers and data and reading headline articles that strike fear. But you also have the option to turn all of that off. Over the years I slowly realized I struggle with a form of anxiety that I have figured out how to manage and control on my own by choosing how I react to situations.

I’m the kind of person that can function more efficiently with a mindset of “the less I know, the better”. Sure it’s important to stay informed but there’s a fine line where being informed can affect your mental well-being and stability.

Infection and death rates are irrelevant to me. There’s literally NOTHING I can do with that data. Yes its extremely unfortunate but knowing numbers only fuels worry and anxiety. The best I can do is follow suggested prevention protocols and do my part to keep myself, my family and others safe.

I do realize that in my current situation, I am extremely fortunate and privileged to be able to work from home and not worry about paying bills or buying groceries. As a result I have come to be more grateful for the little things. The fact that me and my family still lives together in our own house and that my mom can work from home is amazing.

I’m an optimist by nature and always look on the positives and hope for the best in any situation. By being forced to stay home, I have spent more time with my family on a day-to-day basis than ever. Which is something I am truly grateful for. In our household there is constant laughter and joking around and eating meals together around the dinner table. All of which a few weeks ago were far and few between.

Another positive thing that has come about is I have a lot more time to dedicate to my own personal work and projects and dive back into some back-burner projects. I’m actively planning a comeback to making YouTube videos and streaming again on Twitch. Also keeping busy with design work and taking on some freelance work for friends. I am my happiest when I’m busy and productive and being forced to stay home and face all the things I’ve been procrastinating on has been a blessing in disguise.

Also I have been consuming more entertainment media than I ever had in the past. I’ve been watching movies, TV, YouTube videos, Twitch streams, music, etc… Anything that helps take the edge off of loneliness and uncertainty. Before any of this I would hardly ever watch TV for any extended amount of time. But the mindless nature of it and the ability to have a show on in the background as you work is reminiscent of how I learned to love working out of coffee shops for the ambient noise that helps narrow in your focus.

There’s still a journey ahead of us and I only hope that we as collective consciousness come out better on the other side. By choosing to stay safe and secluded for a while will help speed things up so we can get back to our normal lives. Self-sacrifice in the short term to gain bigger rewards in the long-term. That has been my mindset for as long as I can remember. It’s the foundation upon which I built my current life around.

Life will go back to how it once was. Our actual normal.