One year hiding away from the world, and in some ways I’ve gained several years.
My entire adult life has been jam-packed with work, school, and for years both work and school at the same time. No complaints, as that’s what I wanted as a kid in Eastern Europe, when imagining my future. I wanted possibility.
As time went on, responsibilities piled on like plates juggled on a stick. Three plates, five plates, ten, twenty. We kept juggling, keep spinning. When the occasional plate hit the floor, we worked hard to clean up and get back to juggling.
We learned to live with demands. For me, coming from a place of limited – or non-existent – possibilities, work demands were a blessing. We learned to tell ourselves: this is how it must be.
It gets tiring though. Not only physically, but demand after demand can tire the soul.
Then, last year life came to a halt.
It felt jarring at first. Impossible to adjust after a lifetime of doing it all on the move – family, work, hobbies, a social existence.
Working partially from home gave me time to discover parts of life I’d only glimpsed in passing. For a whole year, I no longer had to divide myself into pieces to reach every corner of my life. Pretty much everything was now happening between my living room, dining room, and kitchen – every family member in attendance.
Longer-than-ever walks helped me rediscover the neighborhood. Both pictures on this post are from my walks.
Like everyone the world over, we had to cancel everything.
We cancelled usually rushed trips to Eastern Europe — two weeks to adjust, see family who took us for rested party-ready tourists, fit in a trip to the Black Sea, maybe Transylvania, then fly home and get back into the routine. Sure, we had a blast when not overcome by fatigue delirium.
For all the challenging moments this past year, I am grateful beyond reason for every second with my family. I’m grateful for every nanosecond, for every billionth of a second, for every moment that at times seemed longer than an hour.
I am grateful for the time sitting around debating the news, talking about work and school, about teachers and subjects, for lazing around with a book, for the quiet times. For the loud times. Occasionally, my tolerance level was shut. There were short moments of panic when I asked myself: would I ever exist outside my home?
I was forced to discover that even the obnoxious moments in a teen’s life are moments I want to experience because my baby – term he hates – will be an adult soon. Here we were – my husband and I – given a chance to slow down time during the last couple of years of our baby’s childhood. A chance to watch him drive for the first time. A chance to teach him things despite his protests.
We had nothing but time. Days upon days, every time of the day. In a year fraught with anxiety triggers, I am grateful for that time.
Next post in Gain Some, Lose Some: What Was Lost.
Photos credit: @Silvia Villalobos