Portrait Of A Stay-At-Home-Life (life on my patio part 1)
Updated: May 19, 2020
As weeks transition into months, and weekdays feel like weekends, the new reality of life is sinking in and I believe in the chaos - at least for me- a normalcy is forming. It might not be what I planned, or what I would plan were the options different, but it's also it's own kind of magic in ways I never would have expected. I'm a person that truly likes to get to know myself. I've found that this quest and the honest pursuit of it, no matter what I dig up, only leads to being aware of why I'm effected, or not, in certain circumstances. Why some conversations rattle me or energize me more than others, how I take things in, and what tires me out. Knowing theses things not only gives me the space to be human, but also helps me prepare accordingly when I am not the one in control (as I so often am not).
So to say that staying at home was the worst thing in the world for me would be a lie. I don't mind spending time in the recesses of my mind, or with only myself as company. There are so many things that grow and change each year that it's nice to check in and really see how I'm doing, in the way I might genuinely be interested in the life of a friend. I would not go so far as to say it's my favorite thing. The break from friends was not requested and it's only made stronger the bonds I have with some people by letting me know even more deeply how much I miss them when they are gone. The number of these precious treasures gets smaller as I get older but that too has been a pleasant discovery from quarenteen. They say quality over quantity and that becomes so apparent when you have to connect with people in new unique ways. It's helped show me who I will make the effort for, and who does the same in return for me. It's put a spotlight on those that inspire me, as I silently watch from my little nook of the world as they bake, create, garden, or just simply survive. Sometimes it's in the listening we learn what we want to hear. I find my tribe is small but mighty and I have so much to learn from these beautiful souls I'm so lucky to call true friends.
It is easy to see others accomplishing things and feel lazy. Sometimes it's hard to remember that a picture like the one above takes only 10 seconds and one shutter click to create, or that in seeing someone else's handwork we are often kinder than when we turn that eye on our own. We see so many flaws that others miss simply by being part of the creation. It appears in the households of those we know so many things are getting done as flower beds are being weeded, or spouses are checking things off honey-do lists. It's easy, when you are forced to stay out of the rat race, to watch others thriving through the technology that connects us and feel more behind or not in step than ever before. While being hard on ourselves is not healthy, it's also normal and something we will all struggle with from time to time. In talking with a friend recently she mentioned that some days she kicks herself for hiring a professional coach to help train her for races and marathons this year. While she doesn't live in this sorrow long, it crosses her mind - as I think it would all of ours - and yet as an outsider looking in I see her shatter personal record after personal record all while having to find creative ways to do it. Neighborhood bike rides replace professionally mapped out routes, she jogs with her dog instead of other people in her age group. From where I'm sitting it's inspiring watching her crafty ways in discovering her path in these uncharted waters.
I read recently that sometimes letting yourself rest when you find yourself doing it anyway might be the thing you need the most. While I think that is so true- and we often don't give ourselves the grace of doing nothing or something mindless- I also think looking at the same walls day in and day out can slip one into the duldrums. When I started writing consistently in my early twenties I stumbled upon the dark alley of writers block a time or two. Everytime I turned that corner and found myself lost, I'd remind myself that I was only turned around, not permanently stuck, and I would make a list of things in the story I was certain would happen. I might not know how they all connected, but the act of putting stuff down I wanted to accomplish often revealed the solution of how to achieve these goals. It's a skill I find incredibly useful in this new world of face masks and lack of toilet paper. Like Goldie Locks I've played around with my own Honey-Do seeing what works best. While tasks for the month gave me too much time for procrastination, made my lists feel longer than I could accomplish, and left too much gap between crossing off one thing before the next, I also discovered that daily lists felt too ridged and didn't leave time for the beauty of spontaneity that I cherish so much in life. For me weekly goals ended up being just right. I add at least one or two work accomplishments I want to achieve (beyond those already needing to be done and assigned to me), a house project to tackle (currently cocking, grout, potting plants on my patio for summer, painting, and cleaning are high on my list since I'm stuck here anyway), a creative project, and a weekly workout goal. My cat has also added his own need of daily pets, watching the birds, and being carefully monitored so he doesn't eat my plants to stubs as well.
I write these lists on the back of old envelopes, and take great joy in striking out a task when it's completed. It's a nice break from computer screens and google docs putting pen to paper.
I've discovered with music I work out faster, that I often leave financial things until middle of the week, that if I start a week excited I finish more on my house, that if I challenge friends to creative projects I find more joy in doing them as I get to see so many different perspectives on the same topic, and that deep purrs brought on by lots of petting is better for my soul than I ever knew.
I'm not sure what's on your list, maybe this is the first time you've thought about creating one. I'm not sure what your accomplishing, or if you are finding a much needed hibernation period. I don't know if I even know who you are, but it doesn't change the fact that in some small way we are connected, even if it's through words.- which are magical in their own right- or in the quest for health and safety. Know in your heart that I truly wish you the best, and hope you are finding your own joy in the corners of your cranium.