I did not spend my lockdown writing for hours, crafting a literary masterpiece or for that matter even a couple thousand words of my work in progress. Actually, I’m not sure I wrote at all. Instead, I spent my time accidentally finding myself – that person who at one time clipped articles and photographs out of magazines instead of pinning them to Pinterest. That person who actually used the cookbooks on the counter instead of searching Google for the quickest, cheapest, and easiest way to make brownies. That person who sewed, gardened, and knew how to take a deep breath and a long walk before the temptation to sift through social media posts had taken hold of the spaces in her brain once occupied with dreaming of a simpler life.
I think it started a few days into the lockdown with the bunny – after the fear that our world would soon look like the aftermath of some post-apocalyptic movie had subsided. The cross-stitching kit had sat untouched in the packaging for four months. I’m not sure when I had planned to set to work on it or even when I did if I would know how to sew such a thing. There was no deadline for its completion; I could take as long as I wanted. Throughout the days I’d sit down for a bit, watching as my bunny took shape. My mind didn’t think about how the world had been twisted or wonder what tomorrow would bring. My mind felt free, released to slow down and dream one stitch at a time.
And then, I decided to bake. From real cookbooks that had sat so beautifully on my countertops for years. It wasn’t that I couldn’t bake, I just didn’t. There hadn’t been time for new recipes. But now we were in a lockdown. So, I made peanut butter bars, and cheesecakes, and macaroni and cheese, and specialty salads with ingredients that had to be both shaved and seared. Like the bunny, it felt great to do something because I wanted to enjoy not only the final product but the process as well.
My husband and I took long walks… sometimes twice a day. Sure it was good exercise, but that’s not why we did it. We did it to be together, to dream about traveling again, and to solve all the problems of the world in an hour’s worth of conversation. We made plans and set goals. And we spent lots of time with our teens becoming masters of Dutch Blitz as hours of card stacking and laughter filled our home.
We did more things we wanted to do and not as many things we had to do. We slowed down and found joy in the simplicity and the forced time away from societal commitments. And now that the world is slowly beginning to open up… we’re having trouble going back to the way things were. But that’s okay. I like the me I found, and I plan on keeping her around, just to remind me of the loveliness in slowing down.