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Letter from the editor: May 2020

I never could have imagined, when we started Contemporary Spinster, where we would be in less than six months. Although I suspect that we at least should have known about COVID-19 more widely in late 2019, there is no way that I could have anticipated what was to come. In some ways, it feels like the veil is lifting, and while I am hopeful some of the restrictions are being lifted appropriately, I can’t help but fear that a premature attempt to return to “normal” life will lead to six more months of quarantining. Yet, I am hopeful – and it feels like hope is my only option.

From the perspective of Contemporary Spinster, I also couldn’t have imagined how fast we would have grown. As of May, we have six writers and have been publishing daily, Monday through Friday, since January. We started a virtual book club, with the discussion about our first read, Anti-Diet by Christy Harrison, already in play.  I’m excited about the content we are preparing for you over the next month – we are committed to continuing to share our lives and critical perspectives with you as authentically as possible. If you are interested in joining our writing team, you can apply here – there are no requirements other than a passion for life and a willingness to share your experiences and perspectives with our readers. Finally, we have launched a Patron, where you can help support Contemporary Spinster and gain early access to content including a monthly newsletter only available to Patreon supporters. If you are able, please consider supporting us!

As we have done each week of the quarantine, we’ll share how our writers are coping with the pandemic, beginning with our newest writer, Ciara (writing from Barbados).

Ciara: So far I am feeling incredibly grateful for my situation so far. My family is safe (elderly parents on house arrest in Ireland) and my sister caught the virus, but only a mild case. She recovered quickly. I have been off work for about a month now (I’m an optometrist), but I’m due to go back to work on Monday. I feel the PM is reopening the country prematurely, as we are still getting new cases, but what can I do? I feel guilty to say it, but I have actually really enjoyed this lockdown. Although, for the first 2 weeks we were not able to buy food, so there was a bit of stress tracking down black market vegetable vendors. During the lockdown, I managed to get all my professional development exams done (3 years of work in 3 weeks!) and obtained another certification which I had procrastinated about for 2 years. Additionally, I have been doing online exercise classes, some old and some new. It’s been a great opportunity to have access to new teachers. As Mo says (below), we created a co-video this week, and we did another one at the beginning of lockdown. At the beginning of this week I did a 2 day vipassana at my home. It was very insghtful, but incredibly tough in my hot apartment with no AC!

Monetta: I was struggling this week with getting going. I got a contract to make 100 face masks. If it goes well I might get some more contracts.  At the moment it is a small group of 4 of us working on it and I am coordinating our work. I left the house for the first time in 6 weeks, because I needed to buy fabric. While out, I realized how much the masks are needed because a lot of people were wearing masks that are too small.  My mom and I redesigned the the face masks we are creating using my cousin who has a bigger face. This week, St. Lucia got 2 more confirmed cases of COVID-19 both of whom were in quarantine for 3 weeks.  Ciara and I submitted a video about St Lucia in a competition to win $1000.  The winner was announced on Friday – unfortunately, we didn’t win.

Rose: I’ve settled into this pattern and with my county stay at home order extended another two weeks even as the state begins to open back up I am fine doing what I’ve been doing for another 2-4 weeks or so. My June race was deferred to next year so I worked with coach on how we approach things. We have a major work deadline June 1 that doesn’t change because of any of this, and I’m on the implementation team – I had a big deliverable this week. I also participated in my professional national conference done as zoom meetings this week, which was cool because I wouldn’t have been able to go to the live one. We started some major yard work and had some expensive home owner ick this week so I’m a little drained, but I don’t think I can blame that on anything else. May will be a bit “off” here because there was no Mini Marathon today and the Indy 500 has been postponed until August. The 500 creates kinda the whole vibe around town in May so it will be “off” without it.

Ellen: I experienced my first time out in public this week and it was to my doctor’s office for a medical procedure. I felt extremely over-stimulated while traveling to and from the medical center and was hyper-aware of where people were congregating and how far apart they were from each other. I was extremely relieved to be back at home, however, I now worry about whether I’m becoming a bit agoraphobic. Here in Northern IN we are gearing up to open businesses soon and our virus cases have not yet declined. I’m perplexed by the urge to move forward with so many unanswered questions and lack of direction, so for me, life will continue as it has for the last 50 days – staying at home and continuing to do my part.

Laura: These weekly updates are starting to feel like Groundhog Day to me – my only new update is that I’m really worried about not having a job come the fall semester with campus closures. I feel guilty for even worrying about that since there are life or death things happening in the rest of the world. I’m also trying to figure out how to differentiate the weekends from the rest of the week so that I can take a real break from work and, hopefully, prevent burnout. I haven’t figured that out yet, and any tips would be helpful.

In the spirit of preventing burnout, I’m limiting my Zoom meetings to three days a week. Zoom burnout is a thing, and it’s definitely a thing for me. I’m also scheduling in more trail running and time outdoors (see the first recaps coming this week from the new trail I checked out and my latest speed record attempt). Just getting outside, for any reason, has a huge positive impact on my mood.

We hope you are staying well and taking care. of yourself. Let us know if there is something you’d like us to write about, and keep us updated on how you are coping.

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