I thought I would be better at this. I thought this was my dream.
But these days I can’t seem to get any traction. My life feels floaty and ungrounded. I have things to do, and things I want to do, and things I ought to do, and things I have always wished I could do if only I didn’t have those other things to do.
But I’m not doing any of them.
Before this, I was starved for a retreat. I dreamt of decamping to Springwater or Kripalu and spending ten days in blissful solitude: meditating, journaling, walking, eating vegan. I love people, I do, but I need frequent breaks from them in order to continue loving them.
I am deeply nourished by solitude, by nothingness. It’s only in solitude that I remember who I am.
Before this, I used to dream about all the things I would do if everything paused, or was put on hold for a while. My vision looked something like a house arrest, except without the clunky ankle bracelet.
I wouldn’t be allowed to use social media, for instance, or go on lunch dates, or weekend getaways, or have people over, or go out to eat, or just for cocktails or a beer.
In this scenario, time would stretch out before me like a vast prairie. And in this newfound space, I would write and read and think and teach myself chess and how to code and build websites and tend my blog and meditate and do lots of yoga and become somewhat enlightened and cook and pen charming notes to people and make fancy cocktails with designer ice.
In this scenario, I would start a blueberry farm. I would raise corgis.
Oh, the things I could do if suddenly there was nothing to do.
And now, here I am, in my dream scenario, except it’s not anything the way I dreamed. I feel untethered, floating in amber, or more accurately, my bathrobe.
I haven’t washed my hair in a while and my scalp is becoming a science experiment. I’m not organizing, or making sourdough, or learning the ukulele.
What I am doing is accumulating microphones, and halogen lamps. I’m learning how to look into a camera lens so it looks like I’m looking at you.
In the past 50 days, I’ve garnered enough technological acumen to put all my yoga classes online. I am now fluent in Zoom and even have a paid account.
And I’m doing this consciously and deliberately, almost desperately, because I’m afraid of losing the people I want to go to lunch with, and have a beer with, and have conversations with after yoga when this is over.
I’m doing this because I’m now realizing that without those people, my life doesn’t make sense, it doesn’t have a purpose. Without this little community who I love, I don’t know who I am.
I used to think the person I was in my relationships was a very small part of who I really was. I used to think who I really was the person I encountered in solitude.
But this quarantine has shown me that that’s only partly true. As it turns out, without my little tribe, solitude has no point. I need solitude to appreciate my friends, and my friends to appreciate solitude. I need them both equally for my life to make sense, to have meaning.
In this newfound pandemic landscape, new work has sprouted for me. I am not growing blueberries, but I am trying to be a good farmer and keep my tribe cultivated, protected, and fed.
For the past sixteen years, they have fed, protected, and supported me. I believe if we can all huddle super-close now (albeit online) when this is over, we’ll still know each other. We won’t need to reconnect because we’ll have never lost our connection, to begin with
My dream is when this is over, we’ll step out of our individual solitudes, walk across the vast prairies of our isolation, unfurl our yoga mats like picnic blankets, and gorge together on the precious harvest of our love.
*I am counting the days from March 13th, the day I closed the yoga studio.