How might I live, and what I might make room for, some months from now when my bubble-mates and I have been vaccinated?
After nearly a year without all kinds of things and experiences and people, what will I do differently? What do I value differently now than I did a year ago?
I’m more conscious of the fragility of assumptions about the way things are. When there’s a big enough reason to change, things and people change.
I value human contact — physical, emotional, and spiritual — more. I appreciate more deeply the joy of having bubble mates, and the hardships that my friends and loved ones are enduring as they make the tough decisions and stay isolated or minimize contact with others.
I’m deeply aware of how work-centric my choices are right now for how I spend my time. Doing so has been a convenient way to divert my attention from wondering, planning, dreaming, of trips or activities or even people I miss. I can’t have or do those things, I don’t know when I will, and it’s just easier to not bother using up my finite attention span and even more finite energy to imagine Life After Pandemic. Workityworkitywork, cemented together with grudging mandatory attempts at self-care. Surely I might learn to love the effort to take care of myself. The prospect of breaking open and shaking up my current limited routines with dozens of options for joyful company and travel seems like…well, a lot of work. Isn’t it easier to just stop wasting my time on frivolous dreaming?
Actually, dreaming is a powerful creative force in bringing things into being. I’ve learned that something I choose to dream about with all my might and energy, and devote every resource I have to…that act of dreaming and envisioning can often turn that dream into reality.
I wrote before about the beauty that creeps in through the broken places. Now, I’m grateful for memories so powerful that they can’t be pushed away or forgotten — particularly when I pause to gaze at one of thousands of images I’ve taken over the years. A single picture can whiplash my recollections back to the smells and feels and sensations of being in a place, of being with people, I loved and still cherish.
When I set things in motion for my trip to the Atacama Desert in Chile in 2018 and the climbing expedition to Kalymnos I chose for my 60th birthday in 2019, I was conscious of how long it had been since I had had a new adventure. I never want to be someone who spends all her time telling stories from twenty or thirty years ago. I wanted to be someone who keeps exploring, always.
That light never dies for me. Pandemic may have turned the flame down very low, but it’s not out.
If you have ever been my climbing partner, my dive buddy, my co-pilot, my hiking companion — or even just wanted to be — have no fear. Please, let’s talk again soon and plan and dream together. When the time comes, I’m looking forward to discovering how strongly I’ll be motivated to corral the thing that calls itself work into more sensible proportions of my life.
I’m grateful beyond words for all the kindred spirits I’ve reconnected with from past lives, and new sympatico souls I’ve met over the past year. Just imagining how it will feel to be with people I love in person again verges on almost too joyful a feeling to grasp. I seem to prefer to gently nudge it to one side, put it off because that’s easier than guessing when the real experience will possible.
But more friends are getting vaccinated every day. Transition is coming.
And the days are getting longer, and spring is coming.
I’m grateful for it all: past, present, future. And glad we’re in it together.