If you’re anything like me, the last couple of months have felt like being in the world’s homiest prison. I know I’m more or less free to go as I please, as long as I stay away from others (something I more or less try to do anyway) but I haven’t been. The days come and go like a slow moving parade of could’ves and should’ves… I wave as they pass me by then take another bite of my 10,000th morning bagel.
Epic hikes have become epic walks to the mailbox. Sunshine has become fluorescent. Comfortably uncomfortable has become uncomfortably comfortable. Going without a shower for three days in Yosemite has become going without a shower for three days in your apartment. Ok, perhaps not everything has changed.
For those of us who spend our lives outdoors, being forced to live indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic is – how do I put this lightly? Tortuous. Responsible, but tortuous.
It is easy to take. Easy to talk about yourself. Getting what you want feels comfortable. Having your way feels empowering. Being selfish is rewarding. Getting ahead, gaining a step, unlocking the fast lane, accumulating wealth, collecting pride points, and scoring the win. It all feels great.
What is a trail? What does it mean to leave a trail? How do you know which trail to follow?
“We tell ourselves stories in order to live… we look for the sermon in the suicide, for the social or moral lesson in the murder of five. We interpret what we see, select the most workable of the multiple choices. We live entirely, especially if we are writers, by the imposition of a narrative line upon disparate images, by the “ideas” with which we have learned to freeze the shifting phantasmagoria which is our actual experience.” – Joan Didion, The White Album
When I get to the end of my life, hopefully very far from now, I will not look back and think about my job or how much money I made. I will not reminisce about my time spent at my desk doing someone else’s work. I will not take with me the things that I bought, I will not keep the likes I received on Instagram. I will not reflect on the judgment of strangers.
Is life exactly where you want it to be at this very moment?
Easier to answer for some than for others. I can tell you, with only two twitches of my eye, that mine is not. Recently, I’ve accepted this fact with open arms. Not resigned or surrendered – I think that’s an important distinction to make. I’ve embraced it. I swear this will make sense, just let me get there.