How to Thrive During a Pandemic

How to Thrive During a Pandemic

Sep 24, 2021

Step 1: Find a pandemic
This can be a bit tricky, since pandemics happen roughly once every hundred years and starting a pandemic is considered a war crime. Do your best and don't forget to stock up on toilet paper.

Step 2: Remove jobs
Having a consistent place of work can really get in the way of living a nomadic lifestyle. It's important to be able to bounce around from one place to another like a pinball in an arcade. Too much stability may cause you to live a comfortable and consistent life inside a non-moving structure. Besides, your job no longer exists.

Step 3: Remove non-moving structure
Due to step 2, the non-moving structure has become unstable. Not physically. Just fiscally. That's good because the financial instability is going to help you maintain your momentum once you finally free yourself from that pesky home address.

Step 4: Obtain a small loan of free housing, food, and utilities
Of course, everybody, everywhere has access to these things via kind, caring, and stable families. Wait for one of your family members to invite you to stay with them for awhile.

Step 5: Realize you are too good for a house
It turns out that not having a reliable income makes access to housing somewhat tricky. You have started a vocal studio, but it is small and it turns out luxury services do not sell particularly well during times of economic crisis. You quickly realize that you are far too good for mere unmoving structures. Anyhow, you always dreamed of traveling around the country, so this is really a golden opportunity to make that dream come true. What you need isn't a house. What you need is a good ol' reliable bus.

Step 6: Obtain a bus
You buy a bus from a dude advertising on Facebook. At first, the whole thing seems pretty sketchy, but no amount of searching is actually turning up any red flags on this guy's bus business. He gets old busses from a school district in Virginia and sells them to people who want busses. Clean and simple. Your budget is pretty tight, but you find the perfect bus which may or may not need a ton of repair work. The power steering is broken and the batteries are dead, but your fiancé happens to be particularly good with machines. You talk the guy selling the bus down to a little under 3k for a 27 foot bus. It's practically a steal. You pay in cash, accidentally give him a couple more $100 bills than you meant to, and awkwardly have to ask him to return them. He does so with a chuckle and tells you to "stay safe out there." You never see him again.

Step 7: Fix the bus enough to drive
Turns out, the power steering pump does not need to be replaced. Someone did repairs on it in the past and forgot to hook the hose back up to the pump. You hook the hose back up and put in new fluid. The power steering now works. The fix cost you $20. That's quite convenient, since the lack of power steering is what convinced the bus guy to knock $500 off the price of the bus.

Step 8: Get the bus to New Hampshire
The bus magically appears in New Hampshire. Don't worry about it. This is particularly convenient because the part of your family that you are staying with happens to live in New Hampshire and they have a bunch of tools that will be useful for turning a bus into a home. They also have a driveway big enough for a bus which turns out to actually be 3 feet longer than you thought it was when you bought it. It's the perfect (and only) place where you can set to work on your new project.

Step 9: Survive a New England Winter
Ok so maybe driving north for the Winter wasn't the best idea. To be fair, when you started your bus plan, it was the beginning of summer. By the time you obtained your bus, it was October. You also didn't realize Winter started in October in New Hampshire. You also forgot how bad your depression gets when it's cold and gray.

Step 10: Restructure the one thing in your life that has been consistent this whole time
Yeah, you and your fiancé got engaged at the beginning of this whole pandemic thing. It was a good choice and one you think fondly on, often. Now when you all had started dating, there was a lot of talk about how the shape of the relationship was going to change over time. You both were open to the idea of changing as change was needed. Neither of you expected to realize in the middle of a pandemic that you're not a "traditional" couple. So now it's time to explore together. Surely, the dead of winter when you have no home and barely any money is the perfect time to add new romance into the mixture. This is where you really start to thrive.

Step 11: Remember what heartbreak feels like
A friendship turned into a situationship. The situationship turned into heartbreak. It did not pass go. You did not collect $200. You did, however, learn that you and your fiance actually have some fabulous communication skills. You're proud of how the two of you worked as a team through that situationship and the heartbreak at the end. You both reassess and decide that, yes, this is still a direction you want to go in together. Sometimes things don't pan out and that's ok. Everything is great. It's just fine. You decide to cut your hair again, but that's not a mental health flag. Your hair was just starting to get on your nerves.

Step 12: Flee New Hampshire
The months of cold and miserable weather have made it hard to work on the bus. You managed to get the seats taken out and remove part of the insulation from the roof, but you're at a point where you don't feel you can get any work done unless you wait for spring. Also, it's February and you cannot stand the gray days any more. This weather is making you entirely miserable and you've had enough. You decide it's time to go back to Texas and stay with a different branch of the family on their brand-new farm. It just so happens that a friend of your fiance needs a ride south and you'll be passing right through the town he's going to. There's plenty of room in the bus, too, so it just makes sense to bring Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film along. He's also the first person outside of your family that you've spent any time around since last September. It will be nice to have the company while you all quarantine together.

Step 13: Start a new relationship
That time in quarantine with Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film sure was a whirlwind of very healthy choices and emotions. Two weeks in close quarters with someone you've never actually met before was a great idea. This guy is great. Of course he's great, though. He's friends with your fiance. You're all just crying a lot and having constant breakdowns because the pandemic is stressful. Fortunately, the three of you have hatched a plan to live together once this pandemic is over. It will be great. So great. Everything is great. The trip down to Texas is completely normal. The bus works fine. You and your fiance argue a lot, but that's just what happens when life is stressful. A couple weeks after arriving in Texas, you, your fiance, and Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film figure out how to make this partially long distance triangle-ish relationship work. And it's great. So great. Don't forget to think about how happy you are during this time, cuz you kinda want to unalive and that's no fun.

Step 14: ???
You don't remember a lot of step 14. There was a lot of crying. You cancelled a lot of voice lessons at the last second. Moving is stressful. But everything is ok. It is so very okay. It is the okayest.

Step 15: Realize everything is Not Okay
You are now one year into a pandemic. You have no home. No health insurance. You barely have a job. Your new relationship is not healthy. You are tired of collapsing into tears. The harshness of reality sets in and you are almost destroyed by it.

Step 16: Go back to therapy
And also break up with Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film. Cry a lot, but also take moments to breathe. The world is awful and you're in a lot of pain. You've been carrying that pain for awhile. It's time to experience it so you can put it down. You are scared of what will happen next, but you know that the only way out is forward. Your friend Gwen told you a story about that once and she was right.

Step 17: Get back to work
Slowly start teaching voice lessons again. You're amazed at how many of your students are still there. One of them wants to pay you more. It takes some time to process that. At first, voice lessons are the only thing you have the strength to do. Your fiance cheers you on and helps you get ready for every lesson. You let yourself lean on them and they carry you.

Step 18: Get back to the bus
You get bored one day. In your boredom, you go out to the bus. One thing leads to another and suddenly, you have removed a section of rotten wood from the bus floor. It feels good. You remove another. You feel good. Actually good. Life is a mess and the world is scary, but you have a bus and a partner and a plan. There's a lot of tears ahead, but there are more behind. You're gonna be okay.

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