Lately, I realize that the best moments on my journey were not important milestones, but rather the slow meandering Saturdays spent walking around the city, exploring and observing. It is easy to feel like I have to figure it all out, but then I overlook the sweet, small moments that are much more valuable in hindsight. This is a challenging time for everyone. One of the loveliest gifts I can give myself is being alone, though. I have discovered who I am by spending time in solitude and learning how to brace tough situations as well as enjoy incredible beauty. Loving my own company is a wonderful tool to use, especially during challenging times when I need space to reflect.
I have had many periods of loneliness, unsure of what I was doing and struggling to make sense of a new city and social atmosphere. I have found that I had to take these moments really slowly. It is easy to say look at the bright side but for some, it is incredibly difficult to do. Remaining optimistic and positive is hard work, and really needs a lot of practice. In this moment of global anxiety and uncertainty, the phrase we are all in this together can feel a little empty. It is hart to tap into a sense of togetherness when isolation is so tangible. It is even harder when you can easily spend an entire day scrolling through an endless stream of difficult news that doesn’t predict when the tune might change or if it is true what we hear on the news. And yet, hope persists. And these little acts of kindness such as buying groceries for my elderly neighbor who does not want to leave the house. These small efforts make a big difference. They are proof that as physically distant as we are, we are closer than ever. Peas floating in the same human soup.
Sometimes, my friend and I compare our daily highs and lows. Things about internal happiness and external desires and dreams. Lately, my highs were to go to the store to buy groceries, to write, practice yoga at home, read a lot, and do laundry. #gettingbackinshapewhilequaranteened. My lows were stepping into my son’s push pin-battlefield for his dinosaurs after my yoga workout. My friend’s high was hanging out together in the woods chasing the feeling of normality. Because nature is calming. His low was many ongoing pressures in his life that trailed him like a demonically possessed shadow. But, everything will turn out okay in the end. Just don’t step on those push-pins.
Otherwise, a lot of memories marched by, starting with the present moment punctuated by the twinge of self-consciousness that has veiled every thought, every move, every decision I have made since quarantine started. What am I doing? What is this sensation? This feeling that if I don’t communicate, I will erupt. Is it frivolous? Indulgent? Is it even helpful? What is “it”? I cannot keep asking this question for long enough to be able to acknowledge that I have taken for granted the answers to these questions all this time. I have had enough confidence in my recognition of the tiny incisions that sizzle within the flesh of what makes the human experience so raw. We are all so very vulnerable.
When my son asks me what is going on, I don’t put on a mask. I don’t pretend it is two weeks ago. He is old enough to understand. But I want to keep things as normal for him as possible. By doing this, he is not losing confidence in me and what I always tell and promise(d) him: this is home. Here, you are safe. Home will always be safe. I define safe as stable and under control with a lot of love. And a cup of black tea with Inländer Rum and honey for special occasions.
Let me tell you, for some reason, even with all this madness going on, I feel stable. I don’t freak out. There are still so many opportunities, so many things to do. I feel grounded and sure of who I am even though I don’t know what will happen in the future. The key is that hopes and expectations are not jumbled together like white and colored separates swirling around in the same washing machine. Just watch that the colors don’t bleed into the whites. But maybe they do bleed you might say. And then I lose my favorite shirt. So what? Maybe through the pursuit of losing this old one, you will find something new. Maybe you will like the new shirt better. So much better that you cannot even remember the one that got ruined way back when.
Even there is so much uncertainty these days, I know I have to slow down. That I cannot and won’t lose my mind. I don’t want to jump higher off the ground but instead sit closer to it. Be more in nature. Connect. And don’t get frustrated. Try to adjust. Because we are all adjusting. We have a lot of time these days. I can give stability to my myself and my son without putting on a mask and to do my best to protect him.
I won’t let the silver lining of white laundry get mixed up with color. And I won’t let social distancing make me distant from myself. Connection is salient these days. Even 2 meters apart. It is going to get easier. We are incredibly resilient as human beings. Eventually, people will return to their happiness status quo. We will adjust and get into a rhythm and flow. Even if things won’t be the same as before. Ois hot a end.