Making Lemonade: How Quarantine Helped Me Reimagine My Life

Updated: May 22, 2020

For those of you that don't know me, I'm a freelance writer, designer, editor, and all around creative kook by day (well, most days), and bartender by night (student loans, man). I've enjoyed over the past few years helping small business owners beef up websites and create compelling copy while simultaneously hustling behind a bar with my closest friends, making ends meet until I figure out what I want out of life. You know, really want. Overall, I'd say things have been going well for me.

Recently however, my mostly manageable, if not slightly chaotic, schedule of dueling lifestyles - as in, my lackadaisical creative nature versus a rapid-fire, decade-long restaurant crusade - came to an unprecedented pause due to the outbreak and continued spread of Covid-19. It was a pause none of us were ready for.

Suddenly, not only myself, but almost every close friend I had, was out of job. I'll admit, the first few days I did not take it well. It was a nasty emotional salad of denial, mourning, confusion, and fear. The industry that had been carrying me since my sixteenth birthday was paralyzed and many places so close to my heart were no longer accessible.

Upon receiving this news, I did what many young twenty-somethings would do. I texted my dad. His eloquent and wonderfully dad-like response?

Sometimes you get lemons you have to make two choices suck on a lemon or make lemonade

Now, grammatical errors and lack of general sense aside, the point he attempted to make got to me. After all, what greater gift can you get that compares to time. Time. Time to discover something new. Time to adjust the relationship you have with yourself. Time to reimagine your life.

This was it. This right here could be my time to do all the things I've been so good at pushing to the side. Isn't it funny? That is, the ease to which we push aside the things that could make us happiest? Maybe that's just something I do, but one thing's for certain, all of this extra time has forced me to face an uncomfortable reality. I'm afraid of being seen. My work outside of the restaurant industry has been this extension of myself I've held tight against me, never wanting too many people to notice. I've been so afraid that I've concocted excuses for years as to why I haven't published my own site, started my blog, submitted my creative work to literary publications, taken steps to advance my freelance career . . . The list goes on.

And the number one excuse I've used for years? Time. There's just not enough time.

So here I am, admitting and accepting the faults and failures I've allowed to infect my self-image and outreach my intellect and work ethic for too long. I'm nutting up. Putting myself out there in a way that I've been terrified to do. I'm finally investing in myself.

In retrospect, I'm disappointed that it took a pandemic locking me away in my house to make me realize that no one is more worth my time and energy than I am. Am I still worried that everything I make isn't good enough? Yes. Am I still thinking that all of this effort I've put into myself and my future the past month has been a giant waste of time because my ideas, designs, words, and insights are never going to be good enough to build a career, despite the unwavering support I receive from friends, family, and clients? Duh. But, I wrote this blog. And if you're reading it, that means I published not only my site, but also this post. This is me, you know, making lemonade. Cheers.

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