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The Best Laid Plans

To say I didn’t imagine it like this would be an understatement.

The last few weeks of my life have been filled with an uneasy comfort.

There's a glow in our apartment of warm orange and light yellow that I appreciate more than I used to.

Each meal we’ve made has been home cooked, and you'd think it would get tedious, but we have more energy for cooking and more time in the day to experiment with recipes.

Homemade mango kombucha, orange-grapefruit marmalade, zucchini apple bread.

We’ve been exercising together each day, yoga mats side by side.

The sun is getting up early and the leaves have returned to the trees outside. A bright, vibrant green has streaked its way through the normally pale city.

I bought a water color set. I’ve never really considered myself an artist.

But here I am, spreading bright, deep colors across a white page.

I'm realizing that perhaps the only thing that makes you an artist is the belief that you are one, and the only thing that makes you a great artist is dedication.

All in all, you would never be able to tell that there’s a war going on out there.

Weeks one and two were almost fun – in a “holy shit this is crazy” kind of way.

We played games and treated it like a mini-staycation; connecting with people in new ways and finding interesting ideas to stay entertained.

In weeks three, four and five – reality started to set in.

I began to lose grip on the things that were good for me. The basics of living that used to make up my life.

My emotions slowly stacked up.

I was more sensitive than I would've liked.

Weepy. Soft-skinned.

Quick to cry and hide under the covers.

Set off by the smallest things.

I'm not proud of this, but I threw a book across the room when the cat bit me.

There’s no hiding myself from him anymore.

He saw me before, but he must really see me now.

This whole thing has created a laser-focus on the inner-workings of domesticity.

People said at the start of this: “here is the true test of your relationship!”

But he already knows that I’m not as tough as I claim to be.

Over time, and with trust, we’ve been able to open up more of ourselves.

And with that, with each peeling back of the layers that hide who we really are from the world, we’ve gone deeper, our skin has become thinner,

layer by layer,

until it’s just muscle,

and then bone, and then, maybe us.

The real us.

So here we are, just peeling back layers.

Everyone tells me that it’s okay. That I am allowed to be sad more often these days. People say that they’re sad, too. My friends, my family, even my co-workers.

I wish I could temperature-check their sadness. Reach through the screen and measure their emotions against my own, so I would know where I stack up. So I could make sure I’m really okay.

People are saying the world is getting a chance to detox. And then at the first sign of an open door people rush down towards the sand, as if desperate to be standing at the precipice of the land we know and something more vast.

They pack the beaches with their bodies, and just like that, we’ve gone from detoxification to binge consumption.

I fear more for the future than I do for the present.

This is not normal. I remind myself.

But if this is life, then what is normal?

My co-worker and I get on the phone with one another and we walk down separate streets. She knows that I have been planning an escape. Out of the city, into the woods. In her own way, she’s been planning an escape, too. Though older than me, and with kids of her own, she’s wondering how to deviate from the path that has been defined.

She asks me if all this chaos has jump-started my plans. If anything, I tell her, I’m worried I’ll have to put my plans on hold. The future is uncertain. Has always been uncertain. To shake it all up, at this point, well that’s not what adults do – is it?

One day passes, and then another, and here I am, growing older.

And this is life.

Right here. Right now. It hasn’t been paused, because for those of us who are lucky, we’re still breathing.

So I take a shower, and I start walking more, and I sign myself back in.

I still miss the sight of humans at play.

I’ve always loved the scene of beautifully dressed people, with a hint of laughter at their lips.

I've generally thought of my self as more playful than restful.

Living to feel that whir of excitement as I rush off to a new place, or spend time talking to a new soul.

To dress up or strip down and mix a drink and sit in the dirt or find a roof and enjoy the view.

But the older I get, the more I’ve called into question how much of my playtime is positive,

and how much of it is just a distraction.

At the start of the year, I wrote down my intentions:

I want to save for the future of my dreams.

I want to be quieter.

I want to embrace home.

I want to spend time in nature.

And here I am, in the quietest moment of my life.

If you wish it, so it is.

Though it seems crazy to say it, I think I’m starting off this next circle of the sun in a good place.

I sent a text to my friends:

My 28th birthday is coming up.

I told them.

My lifelong friend, Hazel, replied and said:

I’m pretty sure you’re turning 27.

And, just like that, a year younger.

I keep telling myself I had grand plans for the year ahead.

But then I remind myself that those grand plans were in contrast to what I was really hoping for:

a roadmap, security, comfort in the small things.

This isn’t how I imagined it.

But it can't be wrong either, because it's what I've got.

It's not how I imagined it.

This quiet morning,

with the sun shining through the windows, creating a soft, warm glow.

My love by my side and my furry cat by my feet.


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