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Old Habits Die Hard

How the Covid quarantine is challenging me to let go of my 'healthy' habits.

FOMO has never been problematic for me. I was more of a JOMO — the joy of missing out — kind of gal. While I am social and thrive off of the energy of others, I was never one to hang in gaggles of girls or posses of people. I prefer my home, an ice cold Boochcraft on my deck, snuggling with my kitty in the sunlight and a good book over a bar, thumping bass and loud conversations.

2020 had some momentum to it — I felt like I was finally coming out of a spiritual cave. The past ten years or so were consumed by some intense internal dives and deep shadow work. I began to once again reengage in the world, feeling the light on my face and in my heart. I had moved through much trauma and sensed joy bubbling up through every cell in my body and, maybe proportionately, spending as little time possible on social media. I fit in my workouts when I could and attended the occasional dance or yoga class. I rarely ate out, so cooking at home was par for the course for me. Just before the pandemic hit, I feel I had finally found my healthy balance between internal and external worlds. I was in flow as they say.

In one week, everything changed and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit pissed. I just spent a decade in voluntary isolation. I was ready for the world and it seemed to welcome me. Hello, Jennifer. Nice to see you again. We’ve been waiting for you. . . just kidding.

With auditioning and on camera gigs coming to a halt, I now find myself putting a lot of energy towards a career path I was all too happy to put behind me. One of teacher, blogger, seller of shit on social media. “Hey, look at me! I have great information on health and wellness! Follow me! Like me!” It’s enough to give myself an eye roll. A small part of me dies every time I have to hit “Ignore For Today” on my timer that limits my social media use.

But what else is there to do? I enjoy writing. I enjoy educating others on all I’ve learned in this space of movement, breathwork, meditation, and nutrition — basically, healthy self-care habits. Lord knows, we need a lot of that right now and I do feel called to share.

But it’s not as fun as playing on a stage or being on set. I miss my acting class. I miss my creative cohorts and the spaces we would gather and let emotions fly. I was just beginning this transition, finding a new tribe. New relationships were in their infancy. Now, they feel all but stillborn. This makes me sad.

In addition, I’m now seeing every workout, dance class, sound bath, crystal clearing and aura expanding class move on line. I could schedule hours a day with classes, events, social hangouts, DJ parties, self-help and inspirational activities, workshops, talks. . . the choices — as before — are endless, but now I feel more than ever, the pressure to IMPROVE. To do something PRODUCTIVE with my time. I could, potentially, with every meal cooked at home and an endless array of workouts at my fingertips, get in the best shape of my life! I have time to write my book, work on my pilot, host a podcast!

I find myself getting dragged back into the space from which I had almost cut the cord . . . the do better, be better, workout more, write more, be more creative . . . the perpetual space of I should.

And finally, the FOMO creeps in. “Were you in #clubquarantine yesterday with DNice??!!?? Michelle Obama was in the house!” The fact that I can now party with Common, Katy Perry, Kerry Washington and Debbie Allen at the same time is too much to bear. I’ve been ‘happy houring’ every night just to make sure I hear their name. I don’t want to miss one dance class because everyone’s going to be there,and well, technically, I can make it. No more excuses of it being too far away or traffic or other commitments. I don’t even have to get dressed or put on makeup. How can I say no?

Easy. I. Don’t. Have. To. Sure, sometimes, the online dance party makes me feel better, but I miss people. I miss hugs. I miss seeing my friend at the grocery store. For an introvert, an unexpected run in with someone you know can make your day. As much as they (whoever they are) recommend Face Time, texts, phone calls, and Zoom sessions, I don’t enjoy these virtual means of connection any more than I did a month ago. I had happy hour with my aunts, mom and cousin online. All I wanted to do was reach through the screen and hug them. I’m dying to walk through the doors of Equinox and teach a barre, dance class or yoga class. I’d give anything to feel the nervous excitement in my belly that comes just before stepping into an audition room. The electricity of a cold read (or as my teacher calls it, a hot read) with someone I barely know.

I’m not sure what any of this will mean. How I will have to pivot. How we all will have to pivot. I’m not sure where or how my livelihood will unfold. Maybe I’ll ponder it tonight as I change from my daytime sweats to my evening sweats. (And yes, there are morning sweats, too.) Or maybe, I’ll go back to doing what I was doing before we were paralyzed by a miniscule blob of grey matter with red furry tentacles. Relaxing. Letting go. Trusting a higher power to guide me to where She wants me to go. Believing that I am held and supported. Always.

In the meantime you can find me on all the socials and on my Vimeo channel, trying to share words of wisdom, inspiration and the occasional booty shake at @jennifergalardi.

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