Today I’m feeling slow, quiet. Less words, gentle thoughts, kindness and compassion for myself. Finding words to write isn’t as easy as usual.
I feel like a paradoxical version of a new-born lamb, stumbling softly with uncertain eyes, and an elderly gent, reserved, settled and content. I’m discombobulated, great word that one.
I’m physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted, my body aches, my eyes aren’t quite working at their best. I’ve worked hard. I look it too, pale faced, haggard, drawn and weary. So today I’ve gifted myself some real time off, proper rest, lazy contentment. Letting the dust settle until my eyes clear and my legs feel surer footed again.
Actually? I really am ok. My body will recover, and the exhaustion will pass. The fatigue that has plagued me since catching the virus last March is easing, month by month it is better.
No, I’m not even just ok, I’m actually good. I’m back home. Belonging. Peaceful. Yes tired, aching and quiet, but I’m good.
With love in your life, with family, especially during difficult times, comes a certain sense of responsibility. Not resented at all but keenly felt and appreciated, because to have people to love (and be loved by) is a blessing in life. So I’ve been away, for the first time in almost a year (because lockdown), taking care of a family who are part of my family, while one is in and out of hospital and young ones and a home needed attending to. Complex but it felt like a little adventure from the current somewhat Groundhog Day existence we’re all living in.
This past year we’ve all felt limited, restricted, crushed even, by lockdowns. Held in place, no outdoors life to live, no adventure to be had, no explorations other than in our own minds, online, with each other (if we’re fortunate to be locked down with others) and in our own homes and gardens.
So I got to go somewhere, for the first time in a year, and do something ‘else’, something ‘different’. See, love, hold and cherish loved-ones unseen for most of the past year. But in the process I discovered something that feels a little contradictory and peculiar, which has quite taken me by surprise.
We’ve always said that we love to travel, and equally love to come home. To our home, our ‘castle’, our safe nest away from the world. However this past year there’s been no travel at all, no retreats away, no exploration of the outside world so it’s been… weird. Surreal. Sad. Irritating.
I only have a few goals left I intend to achieve in life as I’ve been profoundly lucky thus far. I get to be who I really am, live and love how I really choose to, and pursue whatever dreams I’ve had. All that is left (until new goals appear) is the communal home by the sea, getting my doctorate, writing my books, and travel. House sales have been put on hold due to the impossibility of viewings during Covid19. My immense work takes up far too much of my time and energy to make the doctorate feasible at present. However travel? We were really nailing it; going somewhere new every year, revisiting old favourites, travelling to see loved ones etc. Fabulous. Except of course we didn’t have that at all for 2020 and indeed still can’t for some time yet. Retreats were my medicine, a couple of days here and there alone, completely off grid in random cottages and huts amidst woods and fields; a devotion to myself, time and space to breathe and be with only myself. Those were gone too of course this past year, unsafe in the viral environment.
So I didn’t expect to be homesick. I’ve been in these four walls for almost an entire year, wishing, longing, aching to go out. I’ve not even left the house for weeks at a time, months at some point, other than to step into the garden or a few times joining the dog walk.
I didn’t expect to feel so profoundly the warm embrace of my home, welcoming me. The familiar, the comfort, everything from the pictures on the walls to the bed, the shower, even the toilet! Everything feels safe, comfortable, reassuring. It may not be perfect, but it’s ours, we made it what it is, and it is indeed, our home. The faces and voices I’ve seen every day for a year (and few other), their eyes, their smiles, their smell. So much drinking in, of all of them.
What fascinates me most is that I would have thought, after being ‘trapped’ for a year, it would feel like stepping back into my (albeit lovely) cage, back into a prison of some sort. But it does not. It still very much feels like slipping into a warm cosy bath, or snuggling into bed under the duvet, or back into a favourite pair of slippers.
And I’m so very, profoundly grateful, for all that we share together. I am lucky.
We are indeed, the lucky ones.