Finding Yourself in a Pandemic

It seems the pandemic has thrown the entire world into a mid-life crisis. With people dying all around us, we start to ask ourselves who we are and what we want in life. My husband’s death three years ago was a wake-up call. I knew life was short. I knew tomorrow was never guaranteed. I was determined to start a new life. I had goals. I was motivated. And then…

I failed. I hid. I cried. I was angry. I drank. I thought I’d move through a mediocre life forever. Numbing my feelings with a bottle of wine a day didn’t help matters. My waistline grew along with my unhappiness. I became exactly the person I didn’t want to be.

My mother died in December, which dredged up 47 years of various emotions. Loss, pain, regret. When would it end? Then came Covid-19 to really shake things up. I had two teenagers at home, and yet I felt alone. Exhausted. Unmotivated. Unhappy.

I still did my workouts at home, but it wasn’t producing results I longed for. Results I knew I had within me.

It turns out, the rigid rules of Bayern gave me what I’d not given myself before: time.

Like Dorothy wandering around a fantasy land wearing the very shoes that would take her home; I had always been seeking something outside of myself to transport me to where I belonged. All the while, the answer was right at my feet.

During the mandatory quarantine, I had time to listen to podcasts and read books on a variety of topics: Jungian theory, Narcissistic Parents, Transgenerational Trauma and Relationships. It was frightening and inspiring. During that sunny bland spring, I wrote on paper the kind of woman I wanted to be and the steps to get there. I signed up for online dating, even though I’ve always been opposed to it.

It has been an ugly process. I have fucked up. Backslid. Nearly ruined my best friendships, until I learned to take control over the demons.

As soon as the restrictions were lifted, I moved to a city I loved. I met some of my online people and went out and had fun and blogged about the crazy experiences. I grilled on the patio and hosted a family fun night with my kids and friends–and it made me so damn happy. To have laughter bubble through my living room like an overly-soaped tub. To strengthen bonds that were already there.

I'm clicking my ruby shoes. 

A gigantic leap forward has been my 90 day alcohol-free challenge. Having been a routine drinker for 20 years, it is not easy. There are days I crave a drink. 6 weeks ago, I could not have imagined going to the beach without a cooler of beer. I could not have envisioned NOT opening a bottle of wine at a grill party or getting through a board game with the kids without a glass of alcohol in hand.

I was in decent physical shape before. I had no real problem with my body. I had a lot to be thankful for. However, I knew I wasn’t quite the person I wanted to be. My workouts suffered. My mental state suffered. I had no idea how easily triggered I was while under the influence.

The weightloss was instantaneous. Within two weeks I’d dropped five pounds without even trying. I am steadily decreasing as the days go on. I’m almost at the weight I was as a high school freshman. Some of my pants literally fall off me, which is kind of embarrassing when I’m running to catch the DHL truck.

I never realized how much I relied on alcohol to make myself feel at ease. Now when I get nervous, I have to learn how to get through it without alcohol. Drinking was usually the thing that got me out of my shell. It broke certain self-protective barriers. Now I have to let those barriers down manually. And it’s fucking hard. To just be myself. To find my way home.

About Keri

Writer, widow, life story coach, expat, Mom of 4, madly in love with Crossfit and Krav Maga--my life is stranger than fiction View all posts by Keri

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