If this was the before time, I would have not stopped at the fifth rewrite of a post about the virtual dinner party we had on Saturday.
Way back in early March, if I hadn’t finished the post, I would’ve worked until 7:30 pm when the husband usually came home from his office in the city. I would most likely return to it before going to bed. If it was still not finished, I’d wake early the next day, forget breakfast, and get it posted by 10:30. 11 at the latest because, according to blog experts, that was the cut off time for anyone to read it.
Yesterday, I stopped writing it at 5:30 for the husband and I to take a walk around the neighborhood. We used to plan to do this on the weekends but never seemed to fit it in. Now, 5:30 is sanctified not only for us to be together but to gather the temper of our neighborhood–who we see, who we don’t; how our favorite fruit stand and our little closed restaurants are fairing. Instead of returning to my desk after dinner we nest together, grateful for even the stupidest shows and movies to smooth out our apprehensions and lull us to bed.
Last night I laid in bed caught in anxiety centered on why our sons hadn’t returned our text messages all weekend. They’re good about this, always answering back. Friday, Saturday, Sunday passed in silence and the husband tried to reason that they were busy but I didn’t believe him. (What would they be busy doing in the little apartment they share together? They wouldn’t have gone anywhere, could they?) As he snored, I planned what I would wear in the morning when I barged through their apartment door–a washable hooded rain jacket covered by a large trash bag, and the dirty, well-used N95 face mask I found in my tool box. I’d pack all the cold/cough medicine we have here and gallons of different soups, prepared for the many days and nights necessary to coax our sons back to us.
I’ve begun a meditation on understanding anxiety and it took to around midnight to remember what it taught me: acknowledge my anxiety, see it less as a fact and thus very hard to control, and more of a temporary state that once accepted can be let go. Finally, my breathing calmed me to sleep and I awoke at 8. Instead of heading for my computer, I called our sons who were, in fact, quite well and, in their usual manner, laughed me out of my crazy state.
I am also practicing a mediation on productivity since the only thing I’ve accomplished over these last weeks is cleaning out the basement, arranging the garden, finishing tiny construction projects. The guidance for productivity leads to understanding what is most important to me–if this was my last day on earth, what would I want to be doing, what would I most want to leave behind. Among the answers is not so much writing these posts which are easy, often fun, and provide immediate gratification. Rather, I would be focused on rewriting a difficult manuscript that may not have any chance of being published at all.
In the before time, time stretched on into a long future. There would be no doubt in me that our sons–as well as my family in Philadelphia–would be anything but flourishing. I would hear traffic on the nearby highway instead of ambulances. I would consider it ridiculous to think the food stands and markets were too crowded if there were more than six people inside. Our neighbors would be sitting in the cafes. Come twilight, the husband and I would not put aside work simply to take a walk together.
I would have finished my post for Recipe Monday! and my 96 loyal readers would hopefully be enjoying it.
I have written this in 45 minutes. The husband is down stairs making us coffee and, as soon as I get my cup, I will dig into my difficult manuscript. I will try to believe this current time will end and we will arrive in the after time safe and better for discovering what is truly important.
Because it is important to me, I’ll finish my Recipe Monday! post by 5:30 in the hope that it’ll bring a little relief and humor tomorrow to my 96 loyal readers.