In the past, I’ve had so many conversations with people about how overstretched I feel. I can’t count the amount of times over the year that I’ve said “I wish this merry-go-round would stop”; talking about my life and how I wish I could just get off it for a moment to catch my breath.
I think I’ve even written it here on this blog.
Life pre-covid-19 was so busy – family time was demanding with a young child, work was stretching (in a good way) and my social life kept me busy with plans stretching months ahead.
But the other day I was speaking to someone on the phone, asking each other how we were doing and I realised that with the current lockdown we’re living through, I’ve slowly unfolded into a new slower pace of life.
The merry-go-round has stopped.
And I’ve loved it.
Sure, there have been challenges – I’ve written about them on this blog – but the overwhelming feeling I’ve had in my life is relief for the time and space I now have in my life.
Relief of having weekends filled with nothing but family togetherness; the highlight being a pizza night or a cycle down to the seafront and time throwing stones into the sea.
Relief at having time to properly care for myself – running through parks instead of commuting to work, reading in my newly set up ‘cosy corner’ in the afternoon sun, finding moments of kindness and connection as I wave to people on the walk up my road.
Relief to find myself suddenly in a pace of life where I don’t expect myself to do anything or be anything.
I just am.
And part of me feels awful for feeling thankful in this time that is so deeply challenging for others – people pushed to the brink of breaking point psychologically, emotionally, financially, physically.
Is it right to flourish and have gratitude for the sudden break in life when people are losing their lives to this pandemic?
But as I find myself whirling into a tailspin, wondering if I can even share these words with you, dear friend, I’m reminded of a podcast I listened to recently on comparative suffering, knowing that my lack of suffering at this moment doesn’t take away from what others are going through.
There’s room in this world for all our experiences.
And I recognise that I was suffering before this pandemic slowed me down.
Suffering from lack of space, a life that was unsustainable, an unhelpful pattern of constantly saying ‘yes’ to things that didn’t serve me, FOMO, not listening to myself and what I needed.
And part of me is scared about what will happen when this lockdown ends – when I am back in a life that has more hard edges to it – with commuting, for example – and more soft edges too, with the possibility of socialising.
I feel like a freak for loving the additional time alone, for not wanting to be with lots of people, for having a life that is full enough as it is.
And yet, this is my truth.
- I love time alone.
- I only need a few close friends to feel like the richest person in the world.
- I’m happy living a simple life, with the company of my family and time out in nature.
- I like living somewhere with neighbours who look out for each other.
I love this world where the merry-go-round has stopped – not for the suffering it has caused others but for the simplicity it has brought to my life.
I hope I find a way to not get back on the merry-go-round – or to find a way to regularly get off it – when it starts to turn again.