COVD-19 came a shock for so many people, myself included. After the 2007 H1N1 outbreak, I assumed there would be another world-wide disease that would affect those with chronic upper respiratory health issues. As an asthmatic and someone who has had pneumonia more than ten times, this was something I could not risk. Being prepared was necessary. The last thing I needed was to be hospitalized for such an illness, especially since I have been hospitalized for asthma and pneumonia many times. Stocking up one medication became routine for me. I stopped waiting until I needed asthma medication to get refills. Nebulizer's break, nebulizer equipment breaks, I now have three; including one that has its own battery pack, in case I can't be near an outlet. Being overprepared became a hobby of mine. Nearly a decade and a half later, I finally wasn't the odd one with a huge stack of medication. March 2020, COVID-19 was officially declared a pandemic. Like many, I was laid off and found myself at home. Luckily, my husband still had his job and his health insurance. We were secure financially and had that safety net. Laid off just sounded negative, so I labeled myself a “stay-at-home cat mom,” to which my husband wasn't thrilled about. I really enjoy being home, I find it relaxing and it turns out, something I can do with ease for longer than I ever realized. My husband, Chris, recharges and relaxes being around friends. I relax and recharge at home, alone with the cats, without my husband. I was getting something out of life I never thought I would get until retirement. While my husband was going mad stuck at the house, especially when all of his hobbies involved interacting with other people. Chris was constantly bugging me, wanting to figure out what to do besides playing board games. He wanted to be with his friends, even though he was still working and getting out. While my husband was feeling the negatives, I felt amazing. Prior to COVID, I was working insane hours, I had my volunteering, family I was responsible for in other states, and what felt like a million other things. To me, getting laid off was a blessing. I was free to recharge, I was free to be me without responsibilities getting in the way. First thing I did, I bought $500 worth of bulk yarn. When that box came, I was happier to see that than when I fully paid off my car. My grin was ear to ear. I officially set up a craft and cat room. I moved my big comfortable chair, I moved the cat tower, I reorganized the closet and empty guest room became mine. All mine, and the cats of course. Before I knew it, I was staying up until 3 or 4 am crocheting. Item after item, presents for babies that my cousins weren't even pregnant with. Presents for friends and family member's next 5 birthdays and Christmas presents. My craft closet was and still is overflowing. I couldn't be happier. The cats couldn't be happier spending the time with me and laying on all of my new projects. I needed a challenge. Staying all night crafting wasn't enough for me, I needed more. Expansion, more complicated patterns, clothing, anything to get out of my comfort zone. Once I started breaking out of my comfort zone, I spent several months making only clothes. After a few weeks, I started writing my own patterns because I couldn't find a pattern for something that matched what was in my head. Every day needed to be a new challenge. Longing for more creativity and creating things I never thought I could; it was actually happening. Without the distraction of work, family, friends, volunteering and general life, I surpassed anything I ever thought I could make. My grandmother even said I surpassed her skills, which was such an honor to hear and accomplish. Sadly, my grandmother got sick and I needed to take care of her. Luckily, I was out of work and able to do so. As she got transferred to hospice, I knew the end wasn't far. I crocheted a dress for her funeral, all while sitting in hospice with her. Creating a dress, past her crocheting abilities, and wearing it to her funeral is something I felt honored her and the skills she taught me. Being forced to be home for so long during COVID-19 allowed me to challenge myself and allowed my creativity to shine. The more I crafted, the more I wanted and couldn't stop. Many people focus on the negative aspects of COVID-19, I have done my best to focus on the positive. I decided that I want this to be my life, I want my creativity to shine every single day. COVID-19 inspired me to open my own crafting business. While things are just getting started, it will be a slow process and take a lot of work, I know I can do it. The challenges I faced during COVID-19 ended up being one of the most positive things in my life because it motivated me to do something I truly love and make money off of my passion. I am now a business owner, selling things I make and enjoy making. Thank you COVID-19 for challenging me to change my life.
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