What Was My 'Normal' Before the Pandemic?
I've been waking up peacefully lately. The first few moments before opening my eyes have been met with a stillness and grace I haven't been accustomed to for quite some time. My bedroom windows are always open and spring is just outside with her hues of lavender, white and pink. She smells of fresh flowers just showered in rain; she sounds of the praises birds sing for a new day; she tastes of effervescent potential; and she feels like home. For those brief moments when conscious recognition reclaims control, my only focus is on the serenity awaiting me outside.
I don't think of any stress, worry or fear about our world's current crises and my mind doesn't focus on the latest news segment I watched. I forget in that delicate space before opening my eyes that the world is not as it always was and there's no definite date of when it will return to its normal rhythm.
What was my normal before all of this?
In the lull of moments stringing themselves together to create my days, I've discovered that my soul really longed for this interim. My schedule before the pandemic was one of constant motion; a coalescence of productivity and obsessive task making. My only day off was Sunday and the days before that were one big blur, like watching the beginning of a marathon live from the sidelines, only to be dizzied by the clamoring of people hastening to propel themselves further into pandemonium.
Where was I going and why was I always so preoccupied with moving from one place to the next in swift and rabid motion as though I wouldn't exist otherwise?
Why did every silence have to be filled with a sound?
Why did every thought have to have a purpose?
Why did every task need to be checked off a list?
Why did every day need a direction?
Why did I always need to have an objective?
I spent the whole day reading yesterday and finished a book in one sitting. I stopped every once in a while to make coffee or tea, to grab a small snack, to write new words I had read and didn't know the meaning of in my journal, and to simply lay in bed and think.
I thought about things that haven't crossed my mind in years; memories that stirred like a fresh brew in my head after reading another new chapter of my book.
A flashback of my mom wrapping my sister and I in towels after a bath as though they were habits, tightening the towels just below our chins and smiling close to our faces calling us Sister Danielle and Sister Kelley. The first time I was at a party in the eight grade and couldn't understand if my friends were growing up too fast or I too slow. An old high school boyfriend who surprised me with his depth of understanding and how when he looked at me, he really saw me. Another boyfriend who was rather careless with my heart and who when bumped into years later revealed regret across his face. The times my friends and I cut class to drive down to the beach and spend the first days of spring alongside the shoreline and laughing with each other - how an hour as a teenager stretched further into the horizon than it does as an adult.
I didn't really have time before to just lay in bed and reflect; to capture a memory and dissect it the way the teenage version of myself would. I remember many days as a younger girl laying in bed after writing new poetry and allowing myself the time to just think about my life - to engage my curiosity on certain subjects and people. How beautiful that space is, to just lie down and be. To let your mind traipse into its own wanderings and rest there awhile, until its inquisitiveness leads it down yet another path into an even deeper unknown.
What I'm savoring most about this pause of life is that it's revealing to me all that I don't want to resort back to and all that was always available to me if I permitted myself to see it.
We're all in such a rush to get back to our normal ways of life, but what if your normal way of life shouldn't be your normal anymore? What if through this solitude, this tranquility, this ever billowing placidity, we discover that we are in fact tired of how we were living before? What if this was the change you've been seeking but "never had the time for"?
What if this is the time for you to finally...
work on yourself
heal old wounds
start the business you've always dreamed of
finish the project you gave up on
call the friend you never forgave
thank your parents for being your parents
learn a new skill
engage your hobbies
sit with yourself
really listen to your partner
really listen to yourself
spend more time with your kids
read a long book
dance for no reason
allow yourself to feel what you're feeling
sing as loud as you can