As a COVID-19 Survivor and a New Yorker, I’m scared for the state to reopen. I witnessed firsthand what it was like to have this virus as well as the strain it puts on your family. I’m currently holed up at my parents house in California, but I’m scared to go back to my city, my New York, my real life.

At the same time, I see what staying closed is doing to our economy. My favorite restaurants have shuttered, some forever, friends are struggling to get by, my salvation, theatres, are all closed. It feels like time is just passing and we’re stagnant.

How do we get back to our lives?

I’ve watched everything I’ve ever wanted to see on Netflix, I’ve learned how to knit, I’ve worked from home everyday, and I’ve survived being so sick. I know I’m lucky to have a job, to be working, to being paid, but my soul feels so empty.

I’ve started to acknowledge that life will just look a little bit different from now on. I have to quarantine for fourteen days before I hug my mom, because I came from the epicenter of the virus (New York City), I sit in the garage turned office and sit alone for eight hours a day, and I only leave the house to go into the backyard. This is life with the pandemic.

But I’ve also found that there are some things that glimmer a little brighter at this time. My sisters and I are back home with my parents for the first time since I left for college. Here for an indeterminate amount of time, it’s been fun to get to know each other more as adults, to see the amazing women my sisters have become, from their fantastic meals they dream up with our random pantry items, to their imaginations keeping us busy recreating famous paintings, to getting to spend time in the garden with my mother as she explains the differences between a Julia Child rose and a Pope rose. I’m a little more connected to my family as a result of the pandemic, and just find ways to keep busy everyday.

I worked a puzzle in two days this weekend, a personal success.

I started brewing kombucha, yeah I’m that weird hippie.

I cleaned every crystal in our hand me down chandelier and made it shine like it was new!

I finished a book this weekend and started a new one.

All of these projects I would never have time for in the frenetic city that I live in, but now I call them my successes.

The world looks a little different now, but I’m trying to find a silver lining.