Not traveling during Sequester In Place hasn’t been an issue for me. The other day, though, I walked into our kitchen and felt a deep desire to go to Carmel, a place I’ve been going to since I was a child. I know the cracks in the sidewalks, the slow uphill climb from the beach, the woodsy smell of the neighborhoods, the quaint little houses with names instead of numbers. I know the drugstore on the main street, the numbers of dogs, the art galleries, and the alleyways that lead to intimate courtyards.
I am not a person afflicted with Fear Of Missing Out, instead, I feel anxious about the re-opening of our lives. I’ve discovered that sheltering in place has been a benefit to me. I’m no longer rushing around, doing the busy things that kept me interested and aware all my life, but also left me always feeling like I didn’t have the time to do what I truly wanted.
I discovered that not everything on my potential to-do list was valuable to me. Instead, that list included many ideas that I knew deep down I would never finish. One example: trying to make something out of all the broken pieces of china we have dropped over the years. I also discovered time to do some things on the list that I didn’t have room for when my day included meeting with friends, exercising, writing, doing artwork, taking classes, going to lectures, volunteering, cooking, reading, and gardening.
As things opened up this fall, my husband and I were tempted to sit at Peet’s as we used to after a long walk down the Iron Horse Trail. We remembered the times we whiled away an hour or two chatting with friends. As we drove by Peet’s, we were tempted to stop but turned our car away when we saw groups of people gathered around the outdoor space, many without masks. The news about rising COVID cases turned our thoughts back home.
Even with sequestering, my to-do list of possibilities has started to grow once again. My new daily walks may disappear as my time fills up with the necessary, but inconsequential, actions of a life. Soon I will barely set aside a half-hour to walk, and I will gain back the weight I’ve lost by walking daily. Our neighbors, who came for an outdoor physically-distanced cocktail each Friday evening may disappear again behind closed doors. I will wonder where the moments went that I didn’t get to my new projects on my list.
I am surprised by my desire to travel to Carmel. Perhaps it is my internal reaction to the stress of COVID-19, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the election of the last year. It’s my response to being overwhelmed and scattered and not wanting to ignore what needs to be done. Deep down, it’s my need to have some peace.