Home is Where the Heart Is
Good morning. How have you been doing? This month marks a year of lock down. On top of that winter and snow storms. The snow is nice to see, in that we haven't completely destroyed our planet. It does mean less going out, as if we were going out much anyway. Spring is coming however and Gov Cuomo recently opened restaurants for indoor dining, at 25% capacity of course - mainly because he was pressured by the industry to do so - but no one is really going unfortunately. Also as of last week, movie theaters opened, again to 25% capacity in NY. I'm not going to be jumping on that either, not until I'm fully vaccinated will I be doing those things again. I did get my first shot already, wooo! Warm air is on its way here and we can socialize outside, more people will be vaccinated and less fear of covid will all make life better. Covid is going down across the country finally, sadly it has caused almost half a million deaths. If you're reading this, that means you're one of the lucky ones and didn't die.
For now 90% of the world stays in quarantine life. When we think about life and time we don't want to think about them as one, but the invention of time has forced us to do just that. Imagine this life we lead now...with no time. Ancient civilizations lived this way, oblivious of it other than the relationship between the sun and the moon. They lived each day "in the moment," since that phrase didn't exist back then, they just did everything they had to do from the time the sun came up... until it went down, not caring about anything other than that day. This explains why as life went on, they did crazy things such as travel across the deserts on slow moving camels or built pyramids by hand carving each stone and laying them into their place one by one. This takes some serious focus, we could never do this now.
Today's modern tools to track time such as watches, calendars etc. wouldn't exist. We would just be free to do what we need to do before the day is over. We would still have our guides, the sun and the moon. To meet people for dinner we would say things such as: "let's meet at X just after sunset." If we're planning a day at the beach, we'd say: "let's head out after first dawn." These don't seem too bad, in fact I like using phrases such as "first dawn" and "after sunset." What about a simple coffee meet up? I never said we wouldn't have our cell phones, they just wouldn't have time on them. Call or text, "meet up for a coffee?" Planning would be limited to that specific day's activity. Wake up and plan the day's food, outings, etc. Everything would be played by ear. If you wanted to go on a trip via a plane, you would just go to the airport and first come first serve basis.
I could dig it, but then again I'm also the person who is slowly morphing their home into the use of candlelight versus electricity. (I had always agreed with Saul's brother Chuck on this.) It's not about saving money; although, who doesn't love to do that? It's about the warm atmosphere and soft energy it creates. Candlelight is much more soothing, plus I love the combo of it with incense. I know most people would not like that, they would prefer the efficiency of electric light, flip a switch and it's there, like magic. Candlelight on the other hand, you have to find the matches or lighter and light each one. Not keeping track of time could get complicated. If we don't do it there would be no birthdays, holidays, appointments, set meetings, all of the conveniences that are supposed to make our lives better, tidier and organized on a digital or paper calendar. We would just live life day in and day out, with no care of the time passed or the future.
We're good at tracking life down by years, months, days, hours, minutes and even the poor mini second doesn't get a break. A second is so short, it goes by without notice. With notice, is about the only length of time the average person can sit still without thinking or doing anything. A minute on the other hand, can be stretched and can seem long. You know this to be true if you've ever tried to meditate. If you've never tried it's an interesting exercise. Literally, set your phone timer to a minute and assume the buddha position on the floor. In the absolute quiet and stillness, see how long you can do it without the mind wandering until the alarm goes off. It's hard to do, a minute is a nice little stretch of time. If this is something you're serious about taking up, download the Headspace app. I use it daily and love it and totally worth the small fee. It gives guided meditations to help you reach your inner core. We all have one, we just need to access it and exercise it. It's a life changer.
An hour on the other hand, that's like an eternity after focusing on a minute. It's near impossible to do nothing for an hour, even meditate. I know, I know the monks, they're not on my radar right now, the lives of the fast paced are the ones I think of in this exercise, that means us. We can easily fill up an hour with so many things and we do so naturally, without even thinking of it. I remember life before smart phones, it wasn't that long ago after all. There was all that time we were offline that we're now on. What did we do if we weren't looking at our phones? We were talking on it for one, talking in person too, exercising more, reading more books / magazines, being more creative, more involved in our relationships, studying more, hobbying more, the list goes on. That "extra" time is now forgotten about, we just turn to our nearest screen and away it goes. We would like even more time in the day to do more of what we do, living life I presume. We do blend life and time together so tightly.
While in quarantine, are we living "life" or are we living "time?" The other day as I was waiting for my tea pot to steam I thought of life right now and how different a style of it we're living. The home has become our main everything: office, gym, social life, school, restaurant, entertainment etc; whereas it used to just be where we laid our hats. Being at home all the time reminds me of childhood. We didn't care about time or going out then. We didn't know about the trendy restaurants, traveling to here and there, brunch, bars, coffee shops, shopping, happy hour and all the other stuff that's cancelled and used to call us to come out and play. Being home was, life; our new normal. So back in those moments I was waiting for the steam, I realized this new life isn't so bad. It's going to end up being just a "year-in-time," but it's something we'll always remember and will be written about in history books. What was it like they'll ask? ... Well, we learned to enjoy the little things, it forced us to slow down, look deep at the comforts of home. A great novel, T.V. show or bottle of wine became gold.
Moms like to tell their young adults to "settle down," grow some roots. Well, done and done. We're truly settled right now. Extroverts must be having a hard time of it, a Gen Z extrovert to be exact. They have social media I guess to be "social?!" They're not living "life" right now, most are living "time," riding out covid until it's over, so they can go back to enjoying their new found freedom of adulthood, away from their parent's watchful eye. Covid is certainly an interruption of our lives and time on all of our journeys. For those who have looked inward and came the conclusion that this lock down has forced us to live with simplicities and have taken comfort in that and even enhanced it by making our inner worlds as comfortable as possible, or better known as: hygge, can revel in this pause before the storm or all the things we thought we needed to enjoy life, come rushing back. I for one will probably go back to only half of that "other" life, as I realize how much I enjoy this tranquility.
For others, they're just doing their time and there's nothing wrong with that. I just think we've discovered something special in this new normal. We've been compelled to live in the now, what many in the "before" were always trying to do. For some nothing has changed at all. For example, my neighbors are retired and not the active types. They're great people and the wife, just never goes anywhere. For a long time I thought it was strange, as she's not sick or disabled and is a lovely person to talk to. Before covid I used to think of ways to get her out, I asked her to go for walks with me, an invitation she declined siting lack of energy to do that; or perhaps she just wasn't that into me. I get it now, she just doesn't want to be bothered, she likes to be home. She must have created a little oasis in there for herself, from what I can tell.
So how about you? Are you living "life" or are you living "time?" Do you see these days as fleeting and can't wait to go back to "live" again or have you found your grounding and are content in our new normal?
Maybe it's somewhere in between.
Have a fabulous day, week, month, year...life.
From my heart to yours,