Cocooning from COVID-19? Be a tourist in your OWN little world...
Some people I know are losing it right now. Bored to tears with "social distancing." Trying to find ways to fill up all this spare time.
Now, these are people who used to say they didn't have enough spare time, some of them, of course. I bet you did, too.
How are you likin' it so far?
Well, I have a confession to make. As a writer and "borderline agoraphobic," I believe...I haven't had to make very many big attitude adjustments. I retired to live in a kind of self-imposed exile. On purpose.
I see friends once or twice a week, for brief brunches. I talk to my daughter on Duo or just by cell, to check on the new grandchild and make sure all is well.
But the rest of my time, for a very long time, has been about solitude. Doing only what I truly want to do, only when I truly want to do it.
I have a large backyard with a little patio I can sit on for sun and a view one can only find in the Southwest. Sunrise, sunset and...well, every hour in-between is a show more spectacular than anything on TV or in a movie theater or even an art gallery. Artists come here, to "steal" them on canvas. With cameras...
I also have a completely empty nest in which I can putter around doing. Learning. Sleeping. Eating. Experimenting with whatever comes to mind.
I tried doing some dating, but it sort of messed with all that. The men didn't quite "fit." And having to deal with that, and them, pulled me away from that solitude and into an uneasy, anxiousness that I hadn't had to deal with for many years.
The Universe will have to send me someone who doesn't make me feel as if I'm just going through the motions to see if it gets better over time. Or...whatever I was feeling. I'm still not sure of anything except it didn't feel as good as being home, writing or reading...or just being.
Few things do. I'm one of those exasperating people who don't even keep their cell phones on. When I listen to people going mad trying to stay off their cells for just a few minutes, I'm totally flummoxed. I forget I even have one, most days.
In fact, AT&T has a new one waiting for me--some sort of upgrade I can do--and I haven't even bothered. The few things I do I'll keep doing until I'm not able to do them anymore without trading up.
I think being an only child prepared me for all this "distancing" we're doing right now. I created my own little worlds for most of my early years. That's where the writing comes from.
Where I could not physically go, what I could not physically accomplish...I wrote stories about. Populated with fabulous friends and imaginary family members who went along for the journeys.
I was inspired by other people's stories. In all sorts of books. Many discovered in public libraries that looked like temples. My favorite was the massive main one in downtown Chicago that is now a performance space. With its marble staircases and columns, stained glass windows and majestic, domed ceilings.
Even in its vastness, I searched for solitude. Study rooms, corners behind the huge bookshelves in the least visited rooms...
I am happiest in my own company. Choosing words to express thoughts, visions...ideas. Or watching the world that inspires me to write those things. Without interruption.
My almost monastic way of life may be a bit too extreme, but I ask you, while you have the chance to experience a less extreme version of it, to lean in. Find a new thing to let go of every day--tiny ones, first. Then something bigger and something bigger...
That woman who asks you to unclutter your life by asking yourself, as you touch your belongings, whether they give you joy or not? She's on to something there.
But this time, try it with soul stuff, too. Not just "things" you can touch, but things you do or feel that might be holding you back. Tying you down.
Ask, "What can I free myself of today? What needs to go? So that I can "see" better? Feel more?"
Instead of going out, go "in." Instead of visiting someone, visit yourself. Be a tourist in your own world.
If you want to go all the way off the deep end, this chant, a rare Christian one-- but don't let that stop you--might work. It's a call for the Lord to come to you but I use it just to ask whatever's supposed to come to come on down.