This IS Your Real Life

Since the pandemic began I’ve told myself the quarantine restrictions were “for now.” That my real life would begin again later. 

Surprisingly, I was fairly patient with this odd limbo. Although I had bad days sometimes, I accepted that living with restrictions was necessary. I could handle this. My life was not all I wished for, but I could be content within the new parameters.

And seriously, I have nothing to complain of. 

Despite my acceptance I felt a level of distraction, a channel of disruption or low-key anxiety running in the background, keeping me from being wholly engaged in my days. 

Perhaps I was sparing myself from comprehending the limits and freaking out about them. But I was also banking my fires, saving my fully present self for later. As if this wasn’t my real life. 

After nearly 10 months, I understand I can’t keep holding back. This IS my real life. The days, weeks, months are ticking by. I won’t get them back. There’s no psychic bank account where the losses are preserved, waiting for me to claim them, and restore them to my life. 

My days are different from what I imagined they would be right now, but I remind myself that I’m already doing a lot of what I like to do. I’m still writing. Reading. Volunteering. Finding other creative outlets. I’m not as connected with friends and family as I’d like to be, but I call or video chat with them.

I haven’t completely figured out how to be immersed in this life, but I know that’s the answer.

8 thoughts on “This IS Your Real Life

  1. You’re right, Ellen. This isn’t the reality we wanted, but it is our reality for now. It won’t last forever, but there’s no sense in waiting for it to be over before we begin “living.” We need to live as fully as we can, right here and right now, I think.

  2. Your words ring true for me as well, Ellen. All summer I kept busy outside, running from one task to the other, not paying attention to the elephant in the room (I garden for clients). But with season’s end, I had to face reality and stop pushing it away. I am adjusting to my smaller world, staying close to home. It is hard not seeing family and friends, though, esp. for the holidays. I keep telling myself that we’ll get through this!

  3. So true, Ellen. Today is the only day we have and engaging is the only option. Engaging might look different than it did 10 months ago and maybe it isn’t full throttle, but checking out isn’t an option either. At least not for me. That low-grade anxiety keeps humming its discordant tune but there are other songs, too and how great it is that you can hear them and join in.

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