Wanderlust Writ Small

April 28th, 2020

I read an article today that asked about sequestering at home, “What do you miss most right now?”

Think  fast!

What pops up first before second guessing pushes the mind toward what our self editor thinks the answers should be?

My answer?  I miss freedom of movement. Or more specifically, I miss options. I miss having a range of things to do with my time that involve being out and about in the world.

I assumed this might be what others would say, but my friend Tina told me the answer for her was hugging her family. She aches with this sense of withdrawal from what grounds her. So do I, but for something quite different.

I think our answers say a lot about who we fundamentally are. Tina’s happiness is so thoroughly enmeshed with her family that it is hard even to drag her out to lunch with the girls. When it conflicts with a chance to help out with day care for a grandchild, she is out of town in a cloud of dust. She  can tell you the exact date on which she last hugged her son.  I am so ready to rejoice with her when she can do that again, and sad that day has yet to arrive, but it isn’t my answer.

I actually have more phone contact with my son Ivan than any time since  long before the invention of FaceTime. Since we live too far apart to hug, even when sequestering is over there won’t be much of an opportunity for getting together in person.  I think this  is a by product of something else about both of us, that flying solo is completely within our comfort zone.  Maybe the time will come when we think living in proximity is worth planning life around, but that time has not arrived, and I suspect we both hope to be lucky enough that it won’t—unless of course it involves grandchildren, which  neither of us  foresees.  Then  all bets are off!

But that isn’t what I  planned to write about.  My blog posts rarely are, by the way.  I got to thinking about how missing freedom of movement is really about wanderlust writ small.  I guess I have  lived travelly on a small scale much of my life by virtue of the fact that I have had transportation,  money, and time to fulfill many of my desires in my immediate world.  If I want stimulation I have options; if I want diversion, I have options; if I want escape I have options.

I don’t think I ever thought about living travelly on a small scale before because I have always been pursuing writing it large.  Now, I am thinking of  seeing a movie or an al fresco lunch with a friend as an adventure.   Going to the Apple store to fix my iPad’s sticky keyboard is going to be an adventure, as are working out at the gym and playing tennis.  Hello, muscles!  I am really starting to miss you!

Yes, I greatly miss the freedom of options. It doesn’t make me angry, or depressed, or resentful(at least not often), as it might if my options were considerably narrower.  I have electricity, I have a ride to the store, I am in touch with friends.  Most of all, I and those I love are all still well— not exactly an option but a simple fact that is shaping my life for the better at the moment.

I hope I will be better able to treasure living travelly in all its sizes when sequestering is over, and for now to appreciate the smallest options of all, even if it is just what to fix for lunch, which wine to open, or which window to stare  out of  (one choice here, showing research I am not doing) while I go on the best adventures of all—the ones in my head.

Efficacy

April 20th, 2020

Efficacy is defined most simply as “the ability to produce a desired or intended result.”  When this home quarantine began over a month ago, I assumed I wanted the same results I have  always  expected of myself—to use my time to produce something useful, concrete, and hopefully of some lasting value.  I take it as a given that my best way to thank this beautiful world that has blessed me so greatly is to continue earning my keep.

I even wrote about it in an earlier post, announcing how I would productively use my time. I realize now that was a display of unwarranted  over-confidence. I still have on my fridge  a list of the commitments I made about how I would spend at least one hour every day: Creativity, Reaching Out, Exercise, Life Maintenance, and Recreation. These quickly became more guidelines than hard-and-fast rules, though I still find a day that includes all of them feels better than one that doesn’t.

Today I saw online a much better list, reflecting how life really feels right now.  Here it is.

 

I’m not sure I am motivated enough to do all of these, and really, it should morph into my personal list anyway. What is of value here is the reflection of how far I have come from the person I was before all this.  Not one thing on this list is geared to producing anything with a future.  I’m not building anything. I’m not projecting anything concrete. It’s about silencing the lifelong internal narrative and allowing myself to just be, allowing myself to think only of the kinds of activities that make today, and maybe the next few days, a little more serene. Let anything long-term go for now.

A few days ago, I moved my rather worn but comfortable desk chair outside to take in a beautiful sunny afternoon. When I went in, I decided to just leave it there. After all,  I  wasn’t really using the desk for much of anything except a bigger computer screen from time to time  It wasn’t  like I was developing lectures for a cruise any time soon, or doing any writing or research.  And that is how things happily will remain, with a super-comfortable place to relax outside and an underused dining room chair at the desk, just in case I get the urge to….well, I don’t know what.

I didn’t put any significance on this little logistical change until today, when I realized how well it symbolizes the change in outlook this pandemic is facilitating.  The desk chair on the balcony is an encapsulation of the spirit of this new list.  Forget the desk.  Enjoy the sun.  Say yes.

Today

April 11th, 2020

Aspirational. I’m not there yet, but hear the whispers.