I’m sitting here in the middle of a drifty Sunday afternoon, feeling like I ought to have something meaningful to write, but not quite being able to connect with my focused thoughts because I’ve been so successful at actually having a weekend instead of a sneak-in-all-the-tasks-between-pretending-I’m-taking-down-time. Weekends are something I’ve been nurturing in the past months, especially since all my days are spent at home and my work spaces are in the same physical location as my relaxation spaces. I drift from work into no-longer-working sometime in the afternoon. Then on Saturday and Sunday I don’t assign myself tasks. I’m free to do them if I bump into them, but I’m not pushing to get anything done. I can’t always have pleasantly drifty weekends, but during the times when I can’t have them, I try to hold the memory of their importance so that I don’t return to living an anxiety-and-task driven mode of being.
My life has had more appointments in it lately. This is a shift from last year when all the days felt long and formless. They’d been stripped of external structure by the pandemic shut downs. Most of that structure still hasn’t come back. I have no kids in school, no homework to monitor or oversee. My weekly church meetings are two half-hour web streams and a family blessing of the sacrament. I still only grocery shop once per week and have consolidated all my other errands. But over the months, I built a new structure to help me connect with people. I now have video visits with various communities and friends at fairly regular intervals. Seeing people is good, but it does mean that I am back to having time segmented into parts: Tuesday before appointment, Tuesday after appointment. But I don’t schedule appointments for Saturday or Sunday. It helps me remember what those long, formless days were like. It helps me to retain the lessons I learned from having all of my days be formless.
I wish I could write down my lessons from formless days into a clear list: Things I Learned From My Pandemic Summer. I can’t though. They’re all amorphous, nebulous. Sensations and feelings more than concrete thoughts. By shutting off all the ways I’d over extended myself, I learned what it felt like to be on balance in my center. While centered, I learned all the things I had waiting for me to grieve them, so I gave space/life/energy over to that grief process. I gave stretches of hours and days to let the feelings fully play out instead of processing emotion in stolen snatches of time between other obligations. I still think about how that felt now that I’m building a new network of time obligations out of the pieces of the old. Interesting that the time spent growing in a centered way has resulted in me being able to extend outward as far or farther than I used to reach in my former overextended mode. That’s a lesson I want to remember.
Perhaps someday I’ll find words for how I feel more whole now than I did a year ago, how I’m less afraid. So far any words I use feel like a thin layer of papier-mâché over a round balloon, describing the outline of the thing while not the fullness of it. For today, I’ll put down the words and drift through the rest of my Sunday afternoon.