When my dog Henry gets scared, he has this quirky little habit of hiding under the bed.

It’s quite cute to watch him do this, although it breaks my heart to know he’s feeling anxious. My bed is low to the ground and he’s a chunky little chi-weenie mix — he basically has to army crawl to get under and sometimes (if I’m lucky) his little butt sticks out.

I only discovered this habit of his recently when I lost him in my small apartment (and simultaneously suffered a mild panic-induced heart attack) for a solid 10 minutes only to find him completely hidden under the bed, tail wagging. NOTE: he was hiding from a balloon that we’d brought home from my boyfriend’s birthday party. No clue why, but apparently he’s terrified of balloons and this is how we discovered both his hiding habit and his fear of floating orbs (fair).

The first week of this quarantine I think I felt a little like Henry. I didn’t know what to do so I just froze and buried my head in the sand. Or rather buried myself in my work, alcohol, memes, Netflix and pj’s. I was (am) scared for my family and scared for my friends who have basically lost their jobs for the foreseeable future. And I didn’t know what to do besides just sit with my anxiety. I threw myself in my work with an almost unhealthy zeal. Time to myself now seemed like a burden and a punishment, like a luxury I didn’t deserve.

This week, it finally hit me. Maybe the only small gift in this scary and strange world right now is time itself.

It feels surreal — I now see my boyfriend and dogs all day long while I work from home. And because of that, I’m not worn out after the workday is over even though I’ve worked 10-12 hours almost every day. I feel so much happier in general with little doggie/boyfriend cuddle breaks during the day. To be honest, this is what I’ve always wanted, though certainly not in the way I wanted it.

There’s nowhere to go or be in the evenings or weekends. There’s no to-do list besides maybe stocking up on groceries. I quite literally have all the time in the world.

I’m still scared for my friends and family. I’m still worried about what’s going to happen in the next few weeks. I’m lucky to have work right now, but I know my company is struggling. Will I have a job at the end of April? Will we be ok? But I can’t know the future and worrying (too much) about what might happen is fruitless. It just keeps me depressed and fearful and like Henry, hiding in the dark with my head in the sand.

It’s not the way I wanted this gift of time and it’s coming with a heavy price tag for the world. I’m still so frightened of the uncertainty and what it means for our collective futures, but right now, if I choose to pull myself out from my hiding place, I can see that I finally have time to do all those things that I’ve been saying I wanted to do… you know, if I just had the time. I don’t know how long this will last, but right now, time is on my side. And it just might be one of the only small gifts in this chaotic season.

Here’s hoping I (we all) make the most of it.

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