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We are apart together

We are apart together.

I did not invent this new saying, but I do really like it. I am sitting alone in my home based workshop; my wife is upstairs in her home based office/studio. To us, this is a normal workday. We have been doing this for the last 4 plus years, and we have coined ourselves the shut-ins. We were right on the verge of ordering in groceries to complete our isolation.

El's Cards

I would like to reach out to the people who are new at this stay at home experience and share some thoughts and some actions that have made this new lifestyle so enjoyable to me.

One of the first things I enjoyed about the transition form working outside the house to a home-based business was shutting off the alarm clock. I used to get up at 5:30 am, leave the house at 6:30am, and return home between 4:30-7:00pm. It is still very important to stay in a routine. So every day we wake up gradually, make the bed, shower and dress, breakfast and coffee, followed by a small business meeting about what work needs to be done and what timelines we are up against.

Bob and El coffee

I used to go to a place of employment, no company names mentioned, and spend 40-60 hours per week with people I really did not enjoy spending time with. What a gift to be able to spend time with the most important person in my life, me- ha-ha just kidding.  My wife is truly my best friend and strongest advocate. My suggestion in this new normal, is to look at the people who are close to you, both by physical presence and emotional bonds, and to appreciate and enjoy your time together.

Working from home with my wife does not mean we are standing side by side and having discussions about every move that either of us chose to take. We both have a lot of respect for our differing roles, and we try to stay in our own lane. I remember when we first started working together and I would question everything, thinking I had a better idea.   That is not the definition of respect. I had to listen and learn, not listen and correct. I had to learn how to do the work, then do the work, and then I may be able to offer suggestions of how to change the process. My suggestion is to stay teachable, and that requires some humility.  I did struggle, but it is not impossible.

Bob at his desk

Being home for long stretches of time was enjoyable for me right away. In the past, I would get home from work and have a list of chores that I wanted to complete and there was no time left in the day. With the new at home schedule, I gained over an hour of time that was lost on the commute. I was able to do some chores midday, for full sunlight and the warmer part of the day. I can mix work chores with house chores, so I am not just sitting at my computer for too long. Getting up to get something done is good exercise, and an added value if a chore is taken care of in the process. What can I say? I am kind of a neat freak. So my suggestion would be to look at the value of your efforts. All the effort you put into making your space nicer, neater,and cleaner is all for you, and you are worth it.

Our workload had slowed down a lot.  We are in the gathering business--wedding invitations, and art and craft shows. So we are using this time to create, organize, and plan for the future. Not plan the outcome but look for options, solutions, and resources to help. We are experiencing the same fears and anxiety that others are feeling. I feel very fortunate to have a strong and healthy relationship with my wife, our extended family and our community. I know I could not handle this situation well if I was alone. My last suggestion would be to ask for help, you may be helping the people you ask more than you know.

Thanks for taking time to read our blog, Bob

Top two photos by Melissa Mullen. Today's photo by El