Last evening, my son Chris said to me, “You were just like me when I was vaccinated. I was all in. No hesitancy. Wanted to get out there right away. You know, some people are hesitant, but I wasn’t. Not at all.”
He is right; I was not hesitant. I was so eager to see family and friends, and reclaim all the activities of my life that I filled up my calendar as fast as I could.
But there has been an unforeseen consequence for me. Well, for one thing there is a twenty-five-year age difference between Chris and me, and his life is punctuated with shifts at the firehouse. My life has gone from seclusion, to frenetic outside activity, to longing for a day where the calendar is blank. So … all right I’ll just admit it: I am exhausted eight days into my expanded life.
In the past week, we have seen our children and a fair number of our grandchildren, which included several activities. Not only that, but I have run errands that do not involve the market or Costco, and my toenails are now painted a lovely lilac. On Sunday, we went to outdoor church, and we planned two vacations.
Last Monday, I had lunch with a dear friend. Sitting in a weak sun, we chattered away over iced tea, fish sandwiches, and onion rings. Oh, the joy of it all (and I don’t mean just the onion rings)! It had been six months since I had seen my dear sister friend, and we had a lot of in-person stuff to catch up on. After lunch, we went shopping.
After visiting a few shops, we ended up at Joanne’s, looking at fabric, when two things happened: a wave of lethargy washed over me, and I had to really search my brain for the name of one of my grandsons. These were accompanied by the inability to choose two compatible fabrics from the rows and rows in the store. With the help of my friend, I finally accomplished that task, and admitting we were both tired, we decided to call it a day.
In the parking lot, we said goodbye, hugged (we are both vaccinated), and said we would meet again soon. I stowed my packages, flopped on the driver’s seat, and just sat there. Then, glancing in the rear-view, I noticed someone was waiting for my parking space. Sighing and taking a swig of water, I started the car and headed home.
On the way, I wondered why I was so tired. It was like the activities of the past week had accumulated. In retrospect, I decided I should have dipped my big toe in life outside the homestead, rather than jumping into the deep end. And while I loved seeing all my people, I could have waited on some of the other things.
Once home, I was greeted by the dogs like they hadn’t seen me in months instead of hours. They then ushered me to the couch. It was time for the communal nap, and being wise dogs, they realized I needed it. We nestled together … and it hit me: I had thrown away all the good things I had learned this past year in my need to snatch my “life” back—things like the need to be in nature, to pace my life, to live in the present and not to be thinking about the next activity.
Don’t get me wrong—I loved the feeling of being able to move about the community and to see dear ones. But life is not the way it was. People still wear masks and practice social distancing. The pandemic may be waning, but it is not gone, and for that to happen, we must all continue to be vigilant. And vigilance takes energy.
In any case, it took me two days to get over this mad rush. Now I’m being more thoughtful about my calendar. I’m trying to balance my life. And balance is the key word. It orders our days, conserves our energy, and gives time back to us so we can not only live in each glorious moment, we can thrive in it.