I Have a Confession

I have discovered the key to my quarantine contentment, and it’s not what you’d think.

A couple of weeks ago, I realized that the isolation and repetition of this quarantine were beginning to get to me. My nerves were frayed. The signs were subtle at first, like letting my sons eat fried rice in my bed while watching TV, but then became more obvious. I thought making a dog food catapult actually sounded like an okay idea. I ate a bag of my sons’ cookies, left the wrapper out and blamed the children. I told the boys to go find pictures in the clouds and told them not to come back until they found Boris Karloff.

I decided it was time for a change, a time for self-care, a time for green smoothies and long walks. About the time I had my fourth spinach-stuffed sweet potato, my body put its foot down. Feeling ill for days — and having tried every remedy under the sun — I dug back into the comforts of my childhood and ate a giant bowl of queso with a Coke. Eureka, I was cured! It’s probably because my body said, “ Whoa, boys … let’s lay off the stomach for awhile; the arteries need our attention now.” Nevertheless, I felt better, and I had a choice: I could either eat melted cheese every day, or I could delve into the nostalgia that gave that meal its healing properties. (Spoiler alert: I chose the path with less chins.)

And thus began my “Totally ‘90s Quarantine.” I have transformed my very existence into a Sunny D commercial. My children are eating Trix and Cocoa Puffs, while I bounce around my living room with purple hand weights to ‘90s aerobics videos. We’re watching the T.G. I. F. lineup, “DuckTales,” and “E.R.”. I’m drinking diet drinks and spraying air-popped popcorn with some sort of butter substitute spray, and it’s all glorious. At this rate, I should be rollerblading past your house soon.

I came of age in the early ‘90s when everything was sunny, neon, and fun! If it didn’t take place on a beach, it didn’t happen. It was the world of “California Dreams,” “Beverly Hills, 90210,” and “Saved By The Bell,” a world full of puffed paints and scrunched socks. My childhood soundtrack was Janet Jackson mixed with a healthy dose of smooth jazz. There wasn’t much that couldn’t be fixed by a saxophone and a steel drum. If that didn’t work, Enya could put you right in an instant.

I’ve discovered — or rediscovered — that ‘90s workout videos are my jam. I dare you to be sad while working out with Elle Macpherson in the rainforest. When a spandex-clad Denise Austin tells you to “Burn that butter,” you obey. These videos are so perfectly uncool, and that’s what makes them so fun! When did everything get so serious?

I tend to feel things deeply, overthink everything, philosophize and pontificate, but sometimes I just need to smile. That time is now, and my “Totally ‘90s Quarantine” is doing the trick. Who knows … if the world gets any scarier, I may just squeeze myself into my old ESPRIT jumper. I hope it doesn’t, but at least you’ll have that to look forward to if it does.