There has never been a period of time I was off this long. I have been working or working and in school since I was 16 years old. Over those 20 years having every part of my life planned out – scheduled vacations and planned time off. Using sick days as needed or going in to work “under the weather”. This has and is still an eye opening experience.
At first there was the fear of getting the virus as well as the anxiety of being off work after having just taken 2 months off to rest after my hardest year. And the anxiety stuck around for some time. On occasion it creeps back but I remind myself that everything will work out, check my bank accounts, and find a project in the house to bring my mind elsewhere.
This time off has given me the opportunity to do things I’ve only thought of and put off with fear of not having enough time to “do it right” or “let it die” such as building and planting vegetable gardens, putting actual flowers in my vintage ceramic pots I’d purchased over the years and even bake things that take up to 5 hours to make.
I’ve met almost every neighbour on my street. We enjoy each others company (since we all feel we have to stay close to home). It feels as though I’ve lived in this house for years but it’s only been 8 months and 5 of those months were winter. Those who were struggling to come out of their shells have come out and begun socializing. It took 8 months to get a simple wave from my neighbour in front of me. And when it happened it was pretty awesome!
There is a sense of friendly competition within the surrounding homes. When I mow my lawn they mow, when I cleared limbs they did as well, when I hung my planter baskets suddenly several neighbours had baskets hanging and when I began renovating the exterior of the house multiple neighbours jumped on board improving the appearance of their own properties. We have the time to do things that take time. We are motivating each other in the best possible way. Positively.
I can say that as a person that has a hard time sitting still I often find myself on the front porch sitting and watching as the minutes pass by. Everyone who passes waves and says hello some even striking up small conversations . These small interactions are keeping us sane. We crave even the smallest nod.
Nature is thriving around us and we can NOW take the time to enjoy every minute of it. My most incredible memory so far is of the massive porcupine who wandered in to my yard at 615am on a week day. On a normal weekday I would be hours away getting ready for work. But not this time. A frog in my grass just this morning while I was mowing the lawn, 3 baby rabbits chasing each other playing in the playground (because kids are not allowed too), a dozen baby birds with their families feeding in the grass chirping up a storm – this is what we should be enjoying.
I am going to continue taking full advantage of this time because we all know what will happen when we go back to work.
But not everyone has had the time off some of us have had (essential workers/anyone who was able to work from home) my hopes are that these people will get to take time off to recover, rejuvenate, experience, live and be once this is all over. They deserve a “break” too.
For now I will continue my bike rides and walks, sitting on the porch and watching people pass by, working on projects that would have taken me months to complete and chatting with neighbours and strangers. I’m going to make this experience a positive one and remind people in the future of a time we all had to stop and take a worldwide break. About how we saw animals we had never seen, met neighbours we may have never met, and got to stay home to keep others and ourselves safe.
This is how I want 2020 to be remembered. A year of change. For everyone.