Outdoor visits with friends. Reduced house wipe downs. Hair washing every other day. These are some of my new favorite things. It’s amazing what we can get excited about these days.
Today I am filled with gratitude. Part of that has to do with a conversation I had yesterday with my dear friend, Tamiko, who lives in Boston. She aptly described the situation in Boston as “a shit show”. No one wearing masks or practicing distancing. Crowds of people are walking on the river without a care in the world. Grocery stores have never quite been restocked since the beginning, and now there are restrictions on meat.
Last week, I talked about learning new things about myself during this isolated period of time. Tamiko said, for the first time ever, she could see herself living in a smaller more rural community. One with less people that is surrounded by farms. I get it.
Each day, I find new reasons to be happy to live where I live. Because of how isolated we are, in general, the effects from the pandemic are “lighter” than in say, a place like Boston. That is something to be grateful for, right there.
But this week, I’d like to talk about how humorous I find the things that we get excited for, when we are living more boring and restrictive lives. A few days ago, I had a friend over for an outdoor BYOE coffee date (Bring Your Own Everything). Oh, to have company come! You’d think I was getting ready for the first guest I’d ever had in my life.
Yesterday, when my daughter came home from work she asked me, with exhaustion in her eyes, if she still had to wash her hair after every shift. We decided that, at this point, every other shift would be ok. She left the room fist pumping saying, “And we’re easing, and we’re easing…” I’ve never seen her so happy about something so…well…uninteresting.
But that’s the world we live in right now. We are lucky to be where we are. If we lived in New York or Boston, there’s no way she would even be working right now.
Ah the adaptations of the quarantine.
Last night, she went over to her friend’s house where they recently built a new outdoor space to hang out in. Ah the adaptations of the quarantine. She left the house with the same look in her eyes that I last remember seeing when she got her driver’s license, and was pulling out solo for the first time.
I have also spent time on my outdoor spaces, and I’ve been hanging out there a lot. It’s like discovering a new room in your house. There is just so much “newness” right now. Each time I get frustrated about not being able to do something, I think of something we’ve implemented that we’ve never done before.
For example, I have a projector that I use for art projects. Now I’m thinking that outdoor movies sound like a great idea! Just hang a sheet and put out some socially distanced blankets and chairs.
I can’t wait to see what’s lifted next or what new activities we can engage with.
I can’t wait to see what’s lifted next or what new activities we can engage with. I’ve never gardened much before. In fact, I always though gardening was kind of a bore. Well, you should see my backyard. It’s so pretty now! I can’t believe it took a pandemic for me to finish it.
In a way, we’re getting to know ourselves all over again. I mean, we live our lives in the manner that we do in part because of how the outside world dictates we do things. I’ve never really thought about that before, but now, it’s hard not to see. And the interesting part is that we’re watching this “new normal” grow right before our eyes.
Maybe we’ll get drive through movie theaters back. Maybe we’ll be seeing the musicians we love continue on in more intimate ways, as they share acoustic sets from their living rooms. Maybe we’ll learn how to comfortably sit still for longer periods of time.
It’s hard to know, but what I do know is that I never thought I’d see a day when my kiddo was totally stoked because she can now wash her hair less. I also recognize this feeling of anticipation in my belly. It’s one I’m familiar with because it is one of my anxiety symptoms.
I’m working on feeling excitement about the anticipation instead of anxiety.
However, after being just fine and (mostly) stress free from simply hanging at home, I’m working on feeling excitement about the anticipation, instead of allowing it to fill me with worry. It’s harder for me to worry about the future when I don’t know what it looks like (ain’t that a life lesson…we always never know what it’s going to look like...). Don’t get me wrong, I can find stuff to worry about, but what’s the point right now.
All my worries are on the “what if” train anyway. The only place that train is going is to anxiety central. I don’t think I’ll get on it. Instead, I’ll keep coming up with the pearls of this situation and feeling excitement for our new world. So, pump those fists. There is light in sight.
In the comments below, tell me one thing you got excited about this week.
The image at top is Sea Plants 1, 12”x312”, Acrylic, Paper, and Water Color Crayon on Birch Board, natural wood floater frame included. Take a good look, then close your eyes. Can you remember what it feels like to float on the surface of the water? Sea plants drift back and forth with the current and catch the sun in reflections of the water. The ocean sway that remains calms my anxious heart. For more information and to purchase, CLICK HERE.
I am an anti-anxiety artist and writer, living in Talent, Oregon with my husband and daughter. I use creativity to break through anxiety paralysis, I play in the ocean to stay strong and inspired, and I often visit my hometown of New Orleans, where the rhythm of my heartbeat is renewed. Follow me on Facebook and Instagram where I post stuff sometimes. To hear from me more regularly, join me on this Crazy, Beautiful Artventure.