By Wendy Reichental
Never have so many of us spent so much time at home. It’s a time for innovation, and it’s a time for memories of the world we inhabited half-a-lifetime ago… or is it just a few weeks?!? That’s what Wendy Reichental writes about from her home in Montreal.
My husband and I are holed up now in our apartment, our own little world. The last time we spent this much time together was this past December while we were vacationing in Florida. It was to be our first three-week vacation. We were also celebrating the fact that I had made the decision to take early retirement. We were toasting to new beginnings and how 2020 would be a memorable year. Little did we know! Was that an innocent aspiration or an ominous premonition?
In the midst of those free-flowing days and frolicking on the beach, I came down with a wicked cold, the kind that renders you useless. But as the cold progressed to my chest and worsened, I thought nothing of it. After all, I was on vacation. I remember sneezing carelessly into the air, especially when I was outside.
Now I recall those days with resolute horror and shame for my reckless behavior. I recovered from the cold, no thanks of course to social distancing. Never heard of it!
My husband spent long days right by my side, bringing me tea and soup and since we have friends right in our building, we cooked up mutual dinners. Though I warned them that I was still under the weather, everyone agreed we could still eat together and enjoy each other’s company.
Now only a few months later, I am recalling those days as a bygone era when proximity meant something positive and “positive” meant something pleasing.
I also recall all the comfort meals I delighted in during that vacation and my laissez faire attitude about finishing off an entire container of Häagen-Dazs on my own – this despite my observance and concern for my growing girth! If my husband were to tell me, “Honey, um, you might want to take it easy, you know… maybe ‘flatten the curve’ a little bit,” it never would have carried the same grave weight it does now. Thankfully, my husband would never say something like that and live to tell about it.
Fast-forward to this new normal that we are all experiencing together separately. I am doing my due diligence to abide by all the lifesaving directives we’ve been given plus one that I believe is also beneficial to our health: making sure we remember to laugh when we can. Since my husband has had to bring his work home and set up his pseudo office in our dining room, I cleared the space and made him a makeshift desktop name plate that not only says his name but an additional warning of “Do Not Disturb.”
I also provided him with a daily menu of when meals would be served in the cafeteria aka our kitchen. He appreciated the gesture, complete with a nice fake flower in a vase for his work desk, aka our dining room table. We only have each other. He has always said that it was us against the world, and that it is. But I’ll be damned if I don’t go down without a laugh! It’s my go-to self-help strategy to diffuse a stressful situation.
Wendy Reichental graduated from McGill University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Linguistics in the mid-80s and enjoyed the campus atmosphere so much – she never left. She has put her Dip. in Human Relations and Family Life Education (also from McGill) to good use by utilizing her interpersonal skills at her administrative position which she held for more than 20 plus years at McGill’s School for Continuing Studies. She decided to take early retirement at 57 to pursue reflexology and hopes to find herself gainfully employed at a wellness center. In addition to this, Wendy’s passion is in writing and capturing life passages and sharing her stories of foibles, flaws, and relationships. Her writings have appeared in The Montreal Gazette, Ottawa’s Globe and Mail, and various online magazines. She lives with her husband in Montreal, Canada.
This is Wendy’s second post on EricaDiamond.com. Her first post Making New Friends After 50 was so loved here!