I have a confession to make: my weekend was wonderful. Almost a little magical, maybe.
Oh, I wish I could have seen my kids or my parents (or, even better, my kids and my parents). I really do. I miss them terribly. But as my mom and I admitted to each other over the phone on Thursday morning, it was nice not to have to drive anywhere. Or make a huge meal. Or clean the house. Or navigate any familial tension.
After weeks of stress, insomnia, migraine, and worry, it was really nice to step off the treadmill of my life and just be.
It has been such a gift, to have four days so truly off. For Thanksgiving we did make a nice meal, every dish a new recipe we’ve never tried before. (Pork loin, brussel sprouts, dinner rolls, Bourbon-cranberry cocktails, and bread pudding for dessert.) Because it was just for the two of us, we weren’t also trying to entertain and get everything to turn out perfectly. We overcooked the roast and mis-timed the sprouts, but it was all good. Doing something new, working together, laughing at our missteps, and feeling no pressure mattered more than the food we eventually ate.
In the days since, we’ve gone for long walks and snapped photos of interesting things, taken naps, bought new porch plants, put up some lights, cleaned out a kitchen cupboard, Christmas shopped (online only), talked with those we love who are far away, and watched frivolous TV (Home of the Year). One evening I took a bubble bath with a new (to me) book, feeling so content with my modest, quirky home. Another night, we lit a fire and played a long game of Upwords and ate big helpings of leftover bread pudding.
I tried to finish a knitting project I’ve been working on, but when I attempted to sew it together (it’s a pillow cover), I realized I’d gotten the gauge wrong. Significantly wrong. I considered some half-assed solutions, but I knew I wouldn’t be happy with any of them. So it went from this…
…back to this:
I realized that the project is like our Thanksgiving dinner, where the process of making it matters more than the product I’ll eventually end up with. I realized that I want to do it right more than I want to get it done, a sentiment I’m feeling about many things lately.
In this time of continued suffering and uncertainty, it feels wrong, somehow, to feel as good as I have this long weekend. But what I’ve seen these past few days, more clearly than I did even in the spring, is that some aspects of pandemic life are good for me, and when we are past this enough to safely gather again, there are things from these months that I want to hold onto.
I know that it might not be easy; if I excuse myself from fast-paced living and unnecessary obligation I won’t have the ready excuse of a pandemic, which no one in my circle has questioned or pushed back on. I have been able to say both “yes” and “no” to things I normally might not, without hurting anyone’s feelings or disappointing anyone’s expectations (including my own). We have been giving each other all kinds of grace in acknowledgement of the hard time we are living through.
As I’m feeling myself come back to physical and mental wellness from just these few days of deep rest, I’m wondering: Couldn’t we maybe keep doing that for each other? It’s not like anyone I know was living particularly easy before last March. Couldn’t we keep accepting these kinds of choices as being necessary for our health (in the widest, most global sense)?
The things I want in my life are not controversial (or shouldn’t be). I want fewer superficial connections and more deep ones. I want more time at home, living slowly. I want time to rest my body and time to move it. I want to do and have fewer things, and I want the things I do have to be the right things. I want to take more long walks, spend less money, eat more good food, make more things, and live in such a way that I support people and causes that make this world the kind I’d like to live in.
I don’t know exactly how I’m going to do it, once the world starts back up again, but that’s OK for now. Figuring out what we want is sometimes the hardest part of getting it.
I hope you’ve had a nice weekend, too, and find comfort and joy in the coming weeks, by doing whatever creates them for you.