Merry Christmas to those of you who are celebrating today!
As of Thursday morning, I was looking forward to a quiet Christmas with my mom. As of today, I’m enjoying a quarantine Christmas in my apartment with a case of Covid.
I had gotten a rapid test on Monday afternoon, before seeing my best friend and her two little kids. It was negative, and I felt fine. I continued to feel fine through Thursday morning; the rapid PCR I got was just a precaution, because I planned on spending Friday night and all of Saturday at my mom’s apartment.
In spite of all the Omicron cases in NYC, I was completely surprised when I had a positive test result. I was also so, so grateful that I’d gotten that test, just in case, and had my booster in mid-November.
I was completely asymptomatic on Day 0 (when I was diagnosed) and for 24 hours after. Thankfully, I’ve had only mild symptoms since then. Last night brought a fever, body aches, and nausea, but they all passed pretty quickly. Today I’m congested and just a bit achy. I’m staying hydrated and resting.
Quarantine is the hardest part of the whole thing. I know that I’m very lucky to be able to say that, but the isolation of 2020 is something I’ve never wanted to repeat. I’ve been prepared for the possibility of a breakthrough case, of course, but I never planned on a positive test the day before Christmas Eve. I thought I was struggling with the holiday season a few weeks ago; now I wish I were having the holiday that I anticipated with mixed feelings.
I guess it’s all a source of perspective. A few people have wished me a week of peacefulness and reflection while I’m here by myself, but there’s not much peace or comfort in the solitude. I wanted nothing to do with being alone today.
That, I think, is what the whole pandemic experience taught me. When lockdown first started, I made all these silly jokes about how the quarantine experience wouldn’t be so different from my normal, introverted, homebody life.
Oh, how I changed my tune between April 2020 and September 2020. By the time I was able to re-emerge into the world, I had discovered that many of my assumptions about how I am and what makes me happy were mistaken—at least at this point in my life.
The thing I love most about living in New York City is not my apartment. It is sights and sounds, crowds and people, restaurants and culture and packed yoga classes. The things that make me smile each day are moments of connection and humor and shared experience. The thing I like about my job is the fact that I get to share it.
What I want for myself, more than anything, is a life that is intertwined with other lives, the experience of family in every form that it takes. I work and function well on my own, but I’ve had enough of it. I feel none of the protectiveness that I used to feel about peace and quiet. Most of the joy I’ve experienced in the last two years has come from getting out into the world as much as I can, into places and activities and connections and relationships.
This Covid Christmas affirms that I’m living in the way I should be living right now. I’m seeking out the stuff that lights me up. And I can’t wait to get back out there and do more of it just as soon as my quarantine ends.
For today, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude for the love and messages I got from my friends. I feel glad that my mom and I were able to laugh about what was happening, in spite of our sadness that we weren’t together. And of course I was grateful to be safe, sheltered, and healing quickly.
Days like this one also affirm the same thing that was on my mind last weekend: social media has the power to create so much good in the form of connection and communication. It would have been a very lonely day for me without the friendships I’ve found and sustained virtually.
I count myself especially blessed that I can wrap up this strange holiday by spending a little time here, writing in this communal space that I cherish deeply. Thank you for that.
Here are some (Christmas) recipes and reads.
I can imagine cozying up with many cups of peppermint hot chocolate this week.
I’m all about comfort food daydreaming today, of course. Starting with this vegan pot roast.
Potato mochi soup looks so nourishing and perfect for winter.
More soup, and one that is appropriately titled for my circumstances: a healing butternut squash lentil soup.
How stunning is Jessica’s red velvet cake?
1. While it’s early days to fully understand medical nutrition therapy for Covid, we know some things about treating long Covid. This article is helpful for dietitians—I’ll refer to it myself if I work with clients who exhibit long lasting symptoms.
2. The New Yorker rounds up some holiday stories from its archive.
3. Was happy to chat about the ins and outs of coconut whipped cream for this BA article. Long live dairy-free whip!
4. Joan Didion passed away this week. This is one of many articles that reflects upon her life and work, and it concludes with what is probably my favorite quotation of hers:
5. On the same Thursday that I got my positive Covid test, over 44,000 New York state residents also got theirs. Crazy numbers. Stay safe, test as often as is reasonable, and take good care if you are home quarantining.
At the end of this very strange holiday, I saw a quotation from Anne Lamott,
I can’t think of more appropriate words to have ended my day with. I woke up this morning and cried over coffee, having a one-woman pity party in my living room about my quarantine Christmas. By midday, I was still making wise cracks about how terrible it all was.
A few hours, phone calls, FaceTimes, and messages later, everything felt different. The love I received today was grace, and I’m in a very different place because of it.
If you were isolated today, I’m sorry. You were not alone. No matter where you are and what circumstances you find yourself in tonight, I wish you peace, health, happiness, and love.
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