Individualism, Week 58 in the Time of Coronavirus
I’ve been confused. I thought I knew myself. Instead, who I knew was a woman who was highly influenced by the world around me. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just wasn’t representative of the totality of me. We’ve all been there. Whether we’re enticed by a product commercial, or whether we want to join in on experiences with those who surround us, we make choices based on an outside influence. Sometimes this works to our advantage. I’ve visited beautiful places based on recommendations. I’ve also spent a good amount of money on things I didn’t need, and ultimately didn’t want.
There are some things that have been a constant. I knew what I liked, theater, work, blueberry crumb muffins. I knew what I didn’t like, loud noises like relentless car horns in stuck traffic, or people who take up the entire sidewalk making it impossible to pass. Nothing has changed on those fronts. I have noticed that I like a lot more now, though, than my previous short list.
I like my garden much more than in the past. I’m enjoying it more, too. I’m a squeamish gardener at best. For some reason getting my hands dirty is not fun for me. For instance, as much as I love lobster, I am no fan of pulling it apart to secure the tender meat. But choosing flowers and enjoying a small and rare patch of green in the city is as good as it gets while I find my way back into the larger world.
I’m also much more appreciative of the small things. Kindness, whether from a friend who reaches out, or a stranger who keeps a door open, mean so much to me. I am grateful for Alex’s late night texts filled with bad jokes, and lots of love. I am grateful that Larry washed the dishes last night after a long day at work. He did it without me asking, or even before I could complain that I had one more thing to do.
There are many things that I would not have known about myself had the world not changed drastically. Surprisingly, birds have been nice to see. In the past I appreciated the bright red cardinals I’d pass, but I was nonplussed by other avian varieties. Now, when walking in the park I look up to see all sizes and colors of birds, enjoying the brief siting as I move through the now leafy spaces. Most importantly to me, I’m not missing the many activities that defined my evenings. I assumed I’d be bored if I did less. Not so. I am better rested. I feel more grateful. Letting go feels easier.
An unexpected benefit of this time of Coronavirus is being untethered from much of the external influences. Other than Netflix, along with other cable programming, choices are limited. That’s helped me and others make choices that feel personally authentic. It allows for a freedom we didn’t know possible. Our worlds grew smaller, and our hearts expanded.
- Find something in your drawers you forgot you have but brings a smile.
- Take a private moment to enjoy something that is fun for you, it could be dancing alone, singing in the shower, or drawing. It doesn’t matter if you’re good at it or not.
- Get out in the sun and take in the vitamin D.