Two days ago, before this wee cottage’s quarterly pest control service, I dreamt I lived in a house with spiders hanging from every spot on every ceiling in every room. Last night I had a coronavirus dream. Everyone was coughing without care on everyone, including me.
So literal and scary. Sigh.
I miss dreaming about adventures with Vicky, our awesome family dog. Or being friends with famous people. Or the ones where I’m in Eischer mazes.
It’s not much of a complaint now is it?
Truth be told, I’ve been lucky during all of this. I still have my job. I have a garden to pace around in. I can open the front and back doors for fresh air and more natural light. I’m not bound by metal.
For one self isolating, these almost 60 days have not been too restrictive. That is, until I glance over at my passport.
I was in England in January and February. I had plans to be there in March and again in June. It’s now mid May, and I’ve heard maybe three airplanes in the sky in about two months. Even if travel were permitted, as of this post, all visitors to England have a mandatory 14 day quarantining period.
A luxury complaint! Barks the grumpy apparition on my left shoulder. First world problems!
Yes. But. Still. It’s a life. Reminds the gentle apparition on my right shoulder. Finally.
Seven years ago I put my world on hold. I existed in a self inflicted tumbling cylinder of regret. Think clothes dryer, only hotter.
Guilt wins when you let it in. I thought I owed. So I forced myself to walk in an infinite virtual wasteland. Sometimes I crawled. Sometimes I became a tornado. Not forward. Not backward. Round and round.
This, I told myself, was what life was to be: A series of endless rinses and repeating.
Mentally under nourished, I became a cliché for sure. Nothing flourishes without water. You must stand before you walk. And, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, tornadoes don’t build houses.
This was no good for the soul.
In 2019, I took a sabbatical when an odd thing happened. A few months in, the world changed.
It was around this time last year I stumbled upon a way out of my desert. I don’t know if I found this doorway or if I built it. Either way, there it was. And with its discovery, I stepped out.
That ‘door’ was a road trip.
The story is in this link here if interested.
I remember it seemed to take forever for that trip to begin. I was anxious. I was ready. I wanted to go go go. When it did finally arrive I felt my shackles fly through the sunroof with every mile. Windows down. Hair up. Tunes on shuuffle. As I drove I saw my family. I saw my friends. I met kind strangers. I saw beautiful countrysides.
More than just going through the motions, I was happy. Every day – happy and content.
Also during this time I reconnected with an old friend from Greece, who came along on my adventure via our phones. Our mobile meetups made for an unexpected fifth element of joy.
Cathartic is how I would describe that road trip. Healthy’s another good word.
When I got back in July, I begin a new job. A design job which was paired with a work/life balance agreement that I was all in, at all hours, as long as I could be anywhere. With that in place I went to work immediately, left my suitcase out, dusted off my passport, and booked a flight to England.
By August, I was in the land of my childhood. I visited my old house in Gerrards Cross. I dined in an old pub in my old town of Beaconsfield. I saw my old church. My old high street. I passed the old gates of Woodhill Ave down to the Old Amersham Road below. And I spent time with my old friend.
But there’s more. I found a new high street. A new pub. A new town. New friends to explore new places on the weekend, whilst working U.S. hours at my new home office with my new coffee mug. I even had new pillows and new house slippers and a new place to pick up new groceries.
See what the gentle apparition on my right meant by Finally? This was Life, with roots AND possibilities.
Thank you for showing me colours again.
I was in England in August and September. There in November. And there in January, which ran into February. It was ON and there was no looking back.
Then this thing happened to every single one of us on this planet, interrupting all Life on Earth. For me it began March 18th. Too many days to count anymore, we were supposed to begin our phase 1 yesterday but that has been delayed two more weeks.
There is no way I want to complain about what I am missing in England when so many are suffering. But I’m human and therefore selfish. So when I do start down that path, my lively apparitions appear and usually the grumpy one sets me straight.
In the meantime, my passport is tucked in my laptop backpack, not too far away. And my suitcases are behind the closet door, out of sight but easy to grab. And my crew in England rings daily so we stay connected whilst apart.
As an aside, I would have lost the bet that my time in the virtual desert would help me get through this time of self containment, but in an odd way it has. England was there before this, and it will be there when we get out of here.
I am optimistic that we will be okay. That we will open up again. And travel again. And resume Life without isolation. Just not today, and not for a little while longer.
Let’s hope we all have decent haircuts by then.
Hang in there.