Let’s talk about the weird tensions that arise during a second round of lockdowns in, say, a global pandemic. Specifically the tension between boredom and gratitude. Spoiler alert: I do not have this figured out (at all).
Here’s where we’re at: technically we’re on level 3 of lockdown, which means restaurants, museums, even cinemas are open. (Whaaaat?! I love going to movies but I can think of nothing less relaxing than sitting in an enclosed space with a bunch of strangers, all breathing the same air. Imagine someone coughed!)
In reality, though, we’re mostly staying home. I’m high risk because of diabetes, and we are taking a cautious line – Mark still has a few meetings and is doing the big grocery shops, I’ll pop out to the shops if I really need to and the kids are having play dates with two families. That’s it. Granted, that’s a lot more than real lockdown was (at home, legally not allowed leaving the house except to go to the shops for essentials) but it’s still pretty locked down. Beaches are closed. Gatherings are prohibited. Walks on the mountain are still allowed (thank heavens! My twice-weekly dose of sanity).
So here I sit, at my lovely desk, about to dive into my lovely work. Kids are still on holiday for two weeks and then (maybe? hopefully!) will start school – who knows what that will look like. Everything is fine. We are all safe and healthy and I just ate some delicious yoghurt and coconut and cashews for breakfast, and tasted every mouthful. Who knew that was something to be grateful for?
I find myself torn. It’s not actually boredom because I have so much work to occupy me. But there’s this sense of same-old same-old. The horizon has disappeared because we don’t know what the horizon looks like – so there’s no looking forward to things because we don’t know what things will become. Five days a week I will be sitting at my desk working, with no hopes of the fun things that used to divert me – lunch dates and coffee dates and movies and spontaneity. Spontaneity! Remember that thing?
Of course, there is spontaneity to be found in the every day. Perhaps we should take a before-dinner nature walk today, that’s allowed. (Weather permitting.) I am, technically, the adult in this situation – I could declare it’s pizza night! The weekend is coming and it’s going to rain… We could stay in our pyjamas all day and watch TV (my kids would go insane, but we could). It’s not that spontaneity and fun have been taken away, just that the forms I’m used to are no longer options.
At the same time, and every bit as strongly, I feel *so grateful*. Everywhere I look, I see people grieving. This new variant is making so many people sick, and there is loss everywhere. The fact that I can feel a sense of boredom because I am not emotionally torn apart is something to be grateful for, in and of itself.
So I will try, on this beautiful Thursday morning, to cultivate a spirit of presence. Right here, right now, isn’t this lovely? To bastardize a Maya Angelou quote:
Oh it’s today! I haven’t seen this one before.