OK. I don’t know what happened, but the moment August rolled in, all I wanted to do was burrow inside myself and DO NOTHING. Like, literally nothing. Perhaps, the pandemic with all its consequences had finally hit me?
Then, our schools opened. With all the chaos, change, uncertainty and anxiety that ensued. We are still on ever shifting ground.
No traveling this summer. Anywhere. Which I knew, of course, but still. August came around and it left me reeling.
No traveling abroad, either. The sorest point. The ache deep in my soul, for nothing nourishes, expands my life and fuels my creativity like discovering new places. I LIVE for the summer break because I KNOW that I will travel! it’s a funny thing because I never use or need traveling for escapism, like I do reading and books.
Traveling IS life, with all its highs and lows and frustrations, pushed beyond ordinary limits. And I always come back the better for it. Summers have always been such joyous, stretching, expandable things that for the first time, all I wanted was for this summer to be DONE. Gone. For the very first time, I was ready and eager for fall. Because at least then, there will be pumpkins, and fall baking, and cozy sweaters. And something to look forward to.
The hardest was the feeling of utter depletion. It became so incredibly hard to muster any kind of enthusiasm, or energy, to do any of the things that I normally enjoy doing. I placed myself in front of the computer with a scrambled mind and blank page in front of me day after day. I have unfinished drafts of blog posts. A whole list of things to write about stares at me when I lift my eyes. “Am I depressed?” I asked myself, again and again. I still showered, rolled out of bed, cooked and ate healthily, and walked my dog. But that seemed to sum up all that I was capable of doing.
It was such a struggle and I felt so torn because when you decide to lead a creative life, consistency is key. Blog posts need to be finished and published in a timely, well regulated manner. Instagram posts planed, edited and posted. So much to learn and do! I could not seem to muster any energy for any of these things.
What I did do was look for comfort in safety. In what I knew could bring me back to myself, in well loved habits that always brought a sense of security. In finding pockets of joy. In continuing my commitment to sustainability.
And by telling you about them, perhaps I can save this summer. Perhaps all this time “doing nothing” had not been completely wasted. Perhaps there is a lesson in it as well, for the both of us.
1. I read
Although, to be honest, I started and put down more books than I actually finished. I could not deal with drama, tragedy, violence, warfare, political strife. So I went back to old, feel good classics like Rosamunde Pilcher‘s cherished novels. I scouted my library for her novels, and borrowed some from my local library. I revisited some documentaries based on her life and work. Sadly, she is no longer with us but the charm and love she poured into her work can still be felt.
If you are not familiar with her work, Rosamunde Pilcher was a British romance fiction writer, much loved for her thematic books set in England, during and around WWII, as well as her contemporary novels. The best way to describe them is to say that they are cozy, feel good books, they’re like receving a warm hug from a beloved. They depict regular people, facing life challenges, but with lots of charm, wit and cozy-ness. And there is always some sort of happy resolution, and growth, that happens in the character’s journey. I find that I can always come back to her books to feel uplifted and transported to a more serene and hopeful place.
2. I wore dresses
I’ve been slowly, gradually, updating my wardrobe and transitioning it to more natural and biodegradable items, like pieces entirely made of linen (my newest favorite!), cotton, cashmere, silk and wool, exchanging items piece by piece. I’ve scoured the local thrift shops and online vintage boutiques for linen dresses, shirts and pants.
I’ve discovered Poshmark in the process, and it is a treasure trove of well loved but gently used pieces. I’ve purchased some second hand and one brand new linen/cotton dress from Gal Meets Glam – the line is sadly discontinued at the moment so they’ve become even more cherished items in my wardrobe. Lovely, flowy, feminine pieces, in classic cuts and styles, so that I can have and wear them time after time. Since I can’t travel, I might as well wear a nice dress.
3. I booked a weekend getaway
At a nice wooden cabin in the mountains and only a short distance away from where I live. So not much driving to get there (always a plus in my book) but still remote and with lots of trails to explore around. In the middle of September, right when the leaves start to truly change. Finally, something to look forward to! I’ve been counting the days until I get to go. Why I haven’t thought of doing it before, I honestly don’t know.
4. I visited my local farmer’s market
Saturdays have turned out to be my most favorite day of the week. Waking up early, putting a dress on, getting my baskets and choosing as many colorful and locally grown veggies and fruits as I can eat for the week, started feeling like such a treat! Again, something to wake up for.
Tip: To make Saturday and Sunday feel and last longer, I’ve gotten into the habit of finishing all my house chores by Friday eve: laundry, vacuuming, cleaning and dusting… all of it!
It is such a nice feeling to go to bed with your dishwasher gently humming in the background, bed covered in freshly laundered bed sheets, laundry all done and put away, and a sparkling clean home to wake up to in the morning. Thus, Saturday can start bright and eager, with no burdensome chores to clutter your morning and no dishes in the sink. No matter how exhausted I feel after a long week, knowing that a breezy and joyous Saturday awaits if I finish all my chores motivates me like nothing else. Try it and see how it works for you!
5. I spent time with my puppy
Having someone lovingly and eagerly waiting for you, at the end of each work day, has been such a blessing. Before, I would not have thought of myself as someone that enjoys or would ever own a pet… but this little guy! fills my heart with so much joy, unconditional love and pure delight, that I almost cannot even put it into words. If you have a pet, I think you know what I mean. Honestly, I think the best thing that happened to me this year is getting a puppy.
Now, I know and am aware, even as I write this, how privileged and fortunate I am to live in a time and place where local fresh fruits and veggies are still accessible, where my friends and family are a click away, that I can continue working and that as of yet, none of my loved ones have been affected by the virus and those who did, where able to bounce back.
In hindsight, not being able to travel, is a small price to pay if that means keeping those around me safe, stopping the virus from spreading to allow technology and medicine to come with a cure/vaccine, and for the hospitals to cope properly with the ones affected.
Small blessings. Big gains on the long run. Counting them.
How are you faring? anything in particular that has helped you during this time?
Much love, always!