When Los Angeles County first announced a stay-at-home order was going into effect in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, I immediately felt a sense of panic run through my body. What would this mean for me, my roommates, and my life as a single woman going forward? The fearless, independent version of myself slipped away for just a moment and was replaced by someone who was envious of all the couples who had someone to hunker down with.
I've found a new sense of independence — one deeper than I've ever felt before. And I did it all on my own.
Thankfully, that mentality didn't last very long. Within a few days, I found my social distancing stride. Gone was the day-to-day chaos of my usual city life, and in its place was a slowed-down, simpler, and much quieter version. I started working from home, and without my usual after-work plans, I had a lot of time to reflect and reassess certain aspects of my life. I was finally able to focus on something I had forgotten about for a while: myself. And it felt really good.
My roommate and I bought some weights for at-home workouts; I sent recipes back and forth with old friends; and I signed up for online dance classes. Soon enough, I was spending my free time exercising and taking care of my body, doing things I had never done before like practicing ballet, and enjoying home-cooked meals I made myself. I felt empowered and self-confident through and through.
If the stay-at-home order had been imposed a few months earlier, things would have been drastically differently for me. I was still in my last relationship then, and it was filled with lots of late night pizza runs and lazy mornings where the gym didn't seem so important. These habits, I know, would not have served me well during social distancing. Being in that relationship would have prevented me from slowing down and thinking about what truly makes me happy. Instead, I feel more connected to myself than ever. I've found a new sense of independence — one deeper than I've ever felt before. And I did it all on my own.
You don't have to learn a new skill, workout every day, or bake banana bread to feel fulfiled while staying at home, but you do need to figure out what's best for you during this time. For me, learning that being alone is not synonymous with being lonely has been hugely important. Do I still have waves of envy now and then when I see cute photos of my couple friends on social media? Of course. But I mostly just feel lucky. I get to spend this time exactly how I want, and at the end of the day, I know in my heart that being single right now is exactly what my heart needed.
While some businesses and beaches are slowly beginning to re-open in LA, I see a light at the end of this still very long tunnel. And while there may be a few more waves ahead, I know there's no one else I would rather weather the storm with than myself.