It’s a real learning curve to live in this alternate COVID-19 reality. We all had our schedules, our daily demands, our habits and our stress-relief valves. When everything came to a screeching halt on March 18, it was like being on an old wooden roller coaster that hadn’t been greased in 50 years. The moving car we were strapped in for most of our lives arrived going 80 mph at Coronavirus Station and jerked to a bone-jarring, teeth-rattling stop. All of us were thrown forward with the momentum of our lives and then violently back in our seat in a back-breaking snap of fate’s finger.

This whole situation is apropos, now that I think about it, to riding roller coasters at Cedar Point. I’ve been a fan of coasters my whole life and that love hasn’t waned, even when I crossed into the age when, frankly, you shouldn’t get tossed around, flipped upside down and shot upward at 140 mph with just a seat belt and bar as protection from certain death. I’ve made modifications to accommodate my hobby. I now take Dramamine to combat motion sickness. I steer away from coasters that have too many upside down flips. All wooden coasters are crossed off my list.

But now, to continue the analogy, all the rides are closed off with yellow tape. And we are dealing with that fact as we sit and binge-watch Netflix, learn to have virtual happy hours with family and friends or spend hours pretending that interactions on Facebook are actual, real interactions. (They aren’t. And 99% of the people you are arguing with aren’t even people you know and are not worth the angst.)

Not to be a complete Pollyanna, but I have adjusted to the new reality and have managed to fill my time quite nicely, thank you. If anything, I’m too busy. I signed up for a 120-hour online class to explore a new interest. My newspaper job, thankfully, still exists and takes up 40 hours or more a week. A part-time freelance job takes up on average 20 hours a week. Although my beloved Jazzercise classes are canceled (I am an instructor), the corporate owners now live-stream classes from California for all of us Jazzercising addicts.

And then there are my poor dogs, Penny and Riley. They have never been walked so much in their little terrier lives. I think they are exhausted. It’s a good thing.

I love having time with my husband, a teacher who has embraced the online teaching of his more than 40 fifth-grade students from St. Peter Elementary School in Lorain. I still don’t see much of my son, even though he lives in the same house. Like most college students, he is holed up in his “attic suite” room, virtually attending classes, taking exams and meeting with friends.

When the world opens up again, and it will, I will miss the walks and the jigsaw puzzles and the couch-cuddling while watching the truly bizarre “Tiger King” series. I honestly don’t think we will ever look at life and our busy schedules the same way. I will be glad when the coronavirus monster stops hurting people. I am scared of what has happened to our economy. But I will cherish the time with my family.

Let’s look at it this way: Life’s reboot will be interesting.

Contact this reporter at editor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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