A Small Giant Life.
I haven’t left my house in three days...I mean at all, like even to go for a walk. I am not sick. The rain kept me indoors and I didn’t mind it at all. My car sits in the driveway, well rested from not being driven since last weekend. There was a time in my life where my car sat idle for maybe 12 hours, never more.
My world has shrank and enlarged at the same time. My orbit is incredibly small, really about a four mile radius on some days, 1200 square feet on others. This decrease in my radius has ended a lot of the busyness of my life. I don’t really go anywhere or do all the things I used to do. My life has gotten really small, but grown almost immeasurably at the same time.
I actually have a home base now that I inhabit. I am here in this house with these other beings, and I am here...really here. I spent the better part of my week locked in my office working...I did a lot of that this week but the times that I was not working, I spent sitting petting a cat or dog while talking to my son about whatever he wanted to talk about. I laid in bed last night as I fell asleep and listened to my daughter talk to her friends online, teenage girl banter about make-up and face masks and boys. Each of them struggling to figure out where they are in all the teenaged demands. Being careful to not miss that Tik Tok or Insta-whatever thing that is the most insanely new thing this five minutes.
I thought about how hard it must be to keep up with videos that only last a few minutes in their airing but then are talked about and replicated for awhile, then forgotten and discarded. It made me tired. I could see that her world too is very small, but also encompasses the entire world...which is terrifying as her mother.
So I sit here in my bed this morning, being somewhat daunted by the world outside that used to be mine...a place where I lived this life. But now, having been forced to retreat from that old life and figure out how to inhabit this new, much smaller, contained version of my life, I am overwhelmed by the prospect of that old life returning and encroaching on this new small world in which I live, really live.
How am I supposed to do the intimacy with my kids when I am pulled out there into the world again?
How am I supposed to engage with all the people I used to engage with now that I have become so settled and comfortable being alone?
Am I going to be able to find the balance between the world and me?
Or am I going to feel like I am a spinning top careening around in a world that used to be mine that no longer feels comfortable?
All of these swirling thoughts make me think more about what I intend, rather than what the world will be like...I mean, it is my life after all. And I have found the most peaceful existence when I gave up the illusion I carried that I really had much say so in any of it. The pandemic took my planning, my will, my drive to exert influence, the pandemic took away all of my lofty ideas about how my life was going to go. I spent more time contemplating death - my own, my children, my friends, my parents. There have been times when the fear of losing them or my own life, gripped me and held me tethered in place. Mostly, I have been forced to become the center in my own life and allow all the other things and beings to orbit around me. Which really isn’t all that different from the way it used to be. Me, the center of all my ideas, thoughts and plans...but now, it feels completely different...
I AM at the center of my own life. But what I am doing is far less important than how I am doing it. The quality of my relationships so much more the focus than on how many I have, where I am going on vacation or what my house looks like...I mean, does it really fucking matter? What is a huge group of friends that you can’t see or touch? What is a fabulous vacation if you can’t go anywhere or do anything? What is a great house if there is no one to share it with?
I am blessed to still have all the things that I started with when this whole shitshow began...I have my health, my job, my kids, my friends, my family. But how I feel about all these things is drastically and life alteringly different. I actually value them today. They are not accouterments to me. They are what make my life worthwhile...
My trajectory is small and activity level less, enabling me to develop the depth that was missing before...I am here, in this moment, with this life, with these people, living it. I am here, now, present, loving what I have instead of what I think I want. I am happy now because I am not assured there will be a later. I am living one day at a time because I have had to, we all have had to.
I love this life, its much smaller yet deeper rotation. Day begins, day ends, one after another but now coupled with a profound sense of purpose, like all the chitter chatter that distracted me before has been stripped away and I am here standing much less insulated, but more here than I have ever been.
I do not miss the giant tiny life I had before. Today, I much prefer the tiny, giant life I am living right now. Soaking in the sunshine while I sit in my bed, cat on lap, daughter snoozing contentedly by my side, dog at my feet. Right now, there is nowhere else I would rather be, and no one else I would trade places with...turns out that a small giant life might just be what it is all about.
The giant sequoia doesn't take up a great deal of ground space compared to how far it reaches upwards...instead it roots itself deeply in place, reaching up, up, up, forever lifting its life toward the heavens...
Yes, yes, just like that...