Updated: Jul 2
A friend and I were chatting recently, when she shared a well-known spiritualist’s perspective on how to spend time in quarantine: “You can fall into a hole, or go through a portal,” she said.
I agreed that was an interesting concept, as it was: one path suggested dropping to a low point during this time, and the other suggested a passage through to the unknown, and a transformation of self.
Then I excused myself and hung up.
You know the annoying friend: a successful, sober, zoom-savvy, remote-worker who enjoys long walks, playing Monopoly, aligning her chakras before breakfast, and finding meaning in her coffee grinds. For her, the portal is a no-brainer.
For those of us, however, who may have already fallen to a low point—those who perhaps entered this unwanted, sequestered detention feeling a bit unsteady to begin with— might I suggest that being in a hole, and laying low, has some benefits too?
Besides that it’s cozy and dark in here, being in a hole allows for a chance to rest, and to see small glimmers of light you might not otherwise have noticed. Being in a hole allows you to catch up on 13-years-worth of Mad Men and still not understand the hype. Being in a hole offers a shift in perspective, and a chance to sit with some of your reflections and observations.
Here are some of mine:
You were never parent of the year. Now is not the time to start.
You should have taken up whittling.
You should have taken up Solitaire.
You should have developed more hobbies than going to La Bussola and The Brass Rail. (Speaking of, they are doing take out, and it’s yummy).
Of all your cockamamie ideas, why did it never occur to you to invest in liquor store?
Or become a therapist?
Or apply to Charmin, Inc?
If you think about it, you actually need very little to be happy.
One of those things, unfortunately, is socializing.
Another is grocery shopping without a mask on.
Another is seeing people’s smiles.
If you leave a teen alone long enough, they may emerge from the social media cave and learn how to cook and bake. They may even start painting again.
You are allowed to celebrate this miracle.
But it still won’t make you parent of the year.
So just stop.
The worst movie ever made will be the one your teen wants to see.
You will never be able to share those laughs again.
Speaking of, if no one is making movies right now, does this mean there really will come a day when you run out of Netflix shows?
Blow drying your hair will make you feel better.
Putting on jeans will make you feel better.
Or not-- maybe scratch that last.
No wonder people wrote long-winded novels in the 1800’s.
No wonder people work out in prison.
No wonder boredom is the mother of all invention. (Case in point: Pizza Scissors and The Ironing Board Mirror, a device, as its name suggests, that doubles in function).
If your marriage can survive a quarantine, congratulations; you’ve
earned the right to eventually retire together.
You cannot change the world by yourself.
Unless you invent an alternative to toilet paper.
So get on that.
A can of black beans can make a meal.
It won’t be very good.
You do not need to admit this to your family.
In fact, you should not, if you want to keep meal expectations low.
Now is the time for empathy, not judgement.
Now is the time for gratitude, not complaints.
Now is the time to understand how everyone’s lives have changed in different ways.
And secretly admit yours before this was actually quite boring.
How else to you expect to climb out of this hole?
Speaking of: Portals are overrated.
Unless you are a quantum physicist studying space.
Then, they are the be-all end-all.
For the rest of us, climbing out, and planting two feet on steady ground might be enough.
Stay safe, everyone.