As we settle into our new 'normal', nothing much really changes for me.
Choosing weaving as a career meant that every day I was doing things that I wanted to do. I didn't pine after doing things once my 'real' job was done. I was doing my 'real' job every day.
Not that it paid well. Far from it. But it was something that I loved to do and was willing to take less in wages than if I'd continued working in the 'real' world.
Most people have no understanding of my reality. But I grew up blue collar poor and my expectations for material wealth (ha - pun intended) were not high. Instead I had material. ;)
Someone once commented to me that she want to be 'rich' like us. I burst out with laughter because we were far from the kind of 'rich' she was meaning. I pointed out that - at that time - we were living well below the poverty line for Canadians, but we were frugal, our wants well curbed and our modest needs covered.
I told her that if she considered rich being able to take a couple of hours off to visit with friends, then yes, I was rich. If she considered that I was doing the work I loved, then yes, I was rich.
I also pointed out that my mother had just paid for lunch for all four of us, in case she hadn't noticed - including hers.
My mother was a huge supporter, routinely taking us out for meals, loaning us her car. Doug had been doing her fix-it jobs for years, and so the three of us took care of each other to the means we were able.
But rich in the way that was meant? Nope.
So when the decision was made to shut down my business, it was with a certain level of trepidation. The studio had been a small but significant source of income for us for decades, at times our sole income. But the time had come and the last six months of 2019 were spent arranging our affairs to face the new 'normal' - my partial retirement and closure of my business.
We had just managed to finish shutting down the annex and getting rid of the monthly rent on that when the pandemic really made an appearance in North America. It was such a relief to know I didn't have to come up with that monthly rent when teaching gigs were being cancelled/postponed and people everywhere were being laid off or fired because businesses were having to shutter and people were instructed to isolate.
With no income, sales of things like books dried up. Independent contractors and self-employed people are scrambling. Many of the government aid packages are not making provision for self-employed people. And we don't know how long the confinement needs to be or how badly the general population will be hit, economically.
And no one has any idea at all how many will die, how many will have damaged lungs, or what the new 'normal' is going to look like when the dust settles.
In the meantime, if you can, stay home. Be Kind. Stay away from other people - at least six feet. Cough into a sleeve. When you get home, wash your hands thoroughly. With soap.
Take this time to do the things you have been wishing you could do but never had the time. Or just take the time to be. Breathe. Stay in touch remotely.
The first priority is to survive. If that takes staying at home? I can do that.
And when the pandemic has run it's course, we will have a lot of things to think about and changes to make. Because frankly? The old normal wasn't all that great for a whole lot of people.