She wanted so to be tranquil, to be someone who took walks in the late-afternoon sun, listening to the birds and crickets and feeling the whole world breathe. Instead, she lived in her head like a madwoman locked in a tower, hearing the wind howling through her hair and waiting for someone to come and rescue her from feeling things so deeply that her bones burned. She had plenty of evidence that she had a good life. She just couldn’t feel the life she saw she had. It was as though she had a cancer of the perspective.Carrie Fisher, Postcards from the Edge
Now, let me just preface this with saying that the use of the quote above is not in any way shape or form a cry for help. I’m very aware that I am lucky enough to have an incredibly wonderful life that is so full of joy, adventure and happiness.
This quote spoke to me when I flipped through my book of beautiful words today because of the peculiar experience we are all living in this moment (or at least, in most parts of Canada, I recognize each nation’s experience is different).
More and more people are getting vaccinated and as a result, case numbers have been falling and life is starting to open up again. And when I say open up, I don’t mean just economically. People throughout the country are feeling free to once again hug their loved ones, to show off babies born during the depths of the pandemic, to heave a sigh of relief over a long-overdue drink with a dear friend.
And, believe me, I’ve been feeling much of this relief as well. My family has remained fairly careful but we are indeed starting to see more people: if still largely socially-distanced (something my 18-month-old daughter struggles to understand). I even had Aria in Mom-and-Tot swimming lessons this past week which was glorious – and her development has advanced in leaps and bounds simply as a result of those 5 days around other kids. It’s magnificent to watch.
And yes, there is still a but. This isn’t over. While Louis and I are both vaccinated, Aria is not (and nor are any of our friends’ kids). So opening up completely is still out of the question. And then you have the Delta variant emerging more and more causing case numbers to crawl up again and bringing with it the looming threat of further lockdowns.
So, you have this confluence of society opening up, vaccines being doled out to those willing to take them, and new more contagious and dangerous variants leading to a perfect storm of…uncertainty.
I know I’m not the only one feeling this. I have several friends who finally have dates this month and next for long overdue weddings and baptisms, if modified to account for Covid precautions.
Many of these friends have postponed these enormous life events at least once if not several times. And I cannot imagine how difficult this has been. All of my fingers, toes and eyes are crossed (just kidding – I can’t cross my eyes much to my chagrin) that at the very least these events can go ahead before things are locked down again. Even better would be no need to lockdown at all…but I’m not sure I’m hopeful for that euphoric possibility just yet.
As excited as I am for these events (and I AM excited – beyond excited – I’m already having trouble sleeping due to anticipation and the closest event is several days away), there is a part of me that is also anxious. But perhaps not for the reasons you think.
I’m not anxious to be around my loved ones again. On that front I am very comforted by the fact that I know every single one of them has been extremely careful. Not to mention most of them, if not all, have had both their vaccine doses. On top of all these known factors, we will all also be taking further Covid precautions so no worries there.
I’m anxious because…I know my system is going to be overloaded by the events this month. Think about it, we have been in various levels of lockdown since March of 2020. That’s 16 months at this point (almost as long as my daughter has been earth side). It may not seem like much time in the grand scheme of things but if you think that they say it takes 3 months to really cement a habit, well, our habit of social-distancing has been locked-in at least 5 times over at this point.
And that, my dear reader, means something.
I mean, I don’t know about you, but try as I might my New Year’s Resolutions usually go strong for maybe a month – two months if I REALLY make an effort, but they usually peter out pretty quickly after that. And yet, I make them every single year without fail. The eternal optimist?
Maybe I need my Resolutions to be government mandated…
But I digress.
Lockdown(s), on the other hand, has/have been going on for almost a year-and-a-half, that’s the longest I’ve ever stuck to a habit. And I mean ever. And we’ve all been sticking to this, to varying degrees.
So now, with things opening up and long-awaited invitations with solid dates attached arriving in the (e)mail, it’s perfectly normal to feel some anxiety. I mean, this hasn’t been normal for us for some time. A LONG time in fact.
Give yourself some grace.
To return to the New Year’s Resolution analogy, imagine if you actually stuck to your resolution to go to the gym every single day for 16 months – and then suddenly all gyms were closed. You got a bit of heads up, but not enough time to truly mentally prepare yourself – I mean your physical and mental energy was used up going to the gym every day after all. So, now what? I imagine you would be a bit discombobulated, no?
And, yes, I realized this may have genuinely happened to some people when the pandemic hit in 2020. Apologies if I’ve re-introduced some post-gymnatic discombobulation.
So, my point? Give yourself some grace. If you can, spread events out (if you choose to go to any at all – and if you’re not yet comfortable, that’s OK too). And if you need to spend the day after a get-together socially hungover on your couch all day playing Sims and napping on-and-off, then do it. I hereby give you permission.
We are all dealing with so much uncertainty right now and that’s perfectly normal. Life right now isn’t normal, and likely won’t be for a while yet. Hang in there. Better days are coming and your calendar will soon look as full of commitments and fun as it ever did and you’ll be begging for some time to just sit in your home and let the world go by.
We can learn from this. We can take this experience and decide to find balance again. Sure, none of us want to sit at home all day every day and see no one outside our household except for the cast of obscure shows resulting from our Netflix deep-diving.
But maybe we don’t want every single second of our day to be planned either? Maybe there is something to be said for scheduling in some time to just be.
I may be uncertain about a lot of things right now, but this is not one of them. In fact, I’m certain I’ve learnt a lesson from all of this. I want, nay, need more balance in my life.
Think about it. We could all find our way to tranquility. To lives that allow us time to both do all the things and ALSO spend some time walking in the late-afternoon sun, feeling the whole world breathe.
What do you think?
And, remember, Life is Beautiful