Starting Something New

Read time: 3 minutes

It’s been eight days since Premier Ford officially declared Ontario to be in a state of emergency due to COVID-19. Public facilities, theatres, and restaurants are closed; we’ve been advised to stay home. Since then, I’ve missed activities, social gatherings, and networking coffees. I haven’t been to my favourite thrift stores, local restaurants, or dance classes. I, like the rest of the province, feel as if I’ve been handed a sudden prison sentence with no end date.

It’s a little strange that I feel so trapped by this pandemic. I was let go from my role at a Marketing Agency in September and have been living a life of “funemployment” ever since. I’ve spent most of the last several months propped on my elbows on my pull-out couch applying to jobs, sending networking emails, and generally trying to figure out my life. Sure, I have the odd freelancing client, but thanks to the nature of digital marketing, I can do most of my work from that same position on the couch. You’d think that an order to stay home wouldn’t really affect me. The truth is, it’s torn away what felt like the only bright spots in my life: physical contact with the outside world.

After a week of self-pity and wallowing, I drag myself outside for a walk. I’m fortunate to live in Cambridge, Ontario, where there is more than 50km of trails running through the city and along the Grand River. I’m not much of a outdoorsman, but I’m grateful for those trails today.

As I wander along the path, I realize that I’m noticing small things that I would have previously ignored. The roar of the distant traffic, the chatter of birds, and the intense gaze of a small chipmunk catch my attention. I glance down at a dried river-bed and notice small pools of water caught in the footprints of absent rocks. Is everyone else noticing these things too, as they are pushed unexpectedly out of their regular routines into quiet walks in nature?

I realize I’m walking a lot slower than my usual meaningful stride when I hear someone approaching behind me. I step aside to allow her to pass by without getting too close, smiling as her small black poodle pit-pats away with a leaf stuck stubbornly to its tail. And with that smile, I’m ready to go back home to my couch.

That evening, I finally confront the fact that it might be weeks or months before we can resume our vies quotidiennes. My naturally practical side kicks in. If the job market was difficult before, it will be even harder now. Perhaps this is the push that I needed to fully embrace the life of a freelance marketer, which I had only dabbled in thus far. And so, a new adventure begins…