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Consider This is a column focused on how important elements of a woman’s life look in single life and in marriage. This week, we’re considering how the pandemic has impacted our priorities and views of leisure as single and married women. Read Fay's essay about her priorities and views of leisure as a single woman here and Kristina's as a married woman here. Today, they respond to each other’s experiences.

Fay (single) to Kristina (married)

It sounds like our COVID experiences have brought into high relief the similarities and differences in our states in life!

I was surprised and interested to hear that we’ve both discovered how unpleasantly “busy” our pre-COVID lives are. This busyness pulls us away from the things we care about most. I was glad to hear that the time you’ve spent with your family has been so peace-giving and refocusing for you! I especially loved the way you wrote about rediscovering leisure time with your family. This resonates with my own experience of prioritizing activities and deliberate time with my roommates and boyfriend.

Of course, our COVID leisure—and our COVID peace in general—looks very different. Yours is full of home life while mine is comparatively solitary. Your description of the time you spend with your children made me a bit jealous—what a joy to be able to focus on them and make those formative memories! But I’m sure it isn’t always an easy joy, and I recognize the gift that singleness is, especially in this regard. Your experience also reminds me that while I don’t have a family in the same way that you do, the roommates and close friends in my life are a different kind of family that is important to value.

Kristina (married) to Fay (single)

I often feel like I’m standing alone on my island of being a working mom and wife and household manager and all the other jobs I have, but your experience of being in quarantine so vividly reminded me that I’m far from alone. Although you and I are in different states in our life, there are so many things that connect us during this time. I didn’t even think that was possible.

What struck me most was your discussion of how you are determined not to lose yourself in the frenzy of everyday life when this quarantine is over, how you want to focus more on what you truly love doing, which may have been lost in just living life and filling up time with social commitments. I commend you for this and find encouragement and connection in what you’re doing. While reading your piece, I found myself on a parallel plane of existence in my own life, having given myself over to the frenzy of kid activities or events. I, too, sometimes feel as you do, that I have lost along the way what I enjoyed doing in the past.

I understand what you mean when you write about how sometimes a really busy life is an attempt at escaping reality, or parts of it. Preach, girl. For me, that’s difficult to admit. But similar to what you say, this quarantine time has given me the opportunity to look at my own life and reality and think about what I want to change. It’s given me that pause I didn’t really know (or maybe didn't want to admit) I needed. Reading your own account of what you’ve done to return to your loves was encouraging and helpful to me. I’m not the only one who is trying to do this! And many of the things you enjoy are the same for me—except the guitar, which I have no idea how to play—like gardening, writing, and even cleaning out cabinets. After reading your story and finding so many similarities and encouraging words, honestly, I’d really like to be friends with you and if we lived in the same city, be on your "quaranteam"!

Do you have an experience about rethinking your priorities and leisure because of the pandemic that you'd like to share? Tell us here and your response may be published by Verily at a later date.