The emotional modulations of COVID-19 have left me a little tired. Oscillating between profound gratitude for what I have and small melancholies for what is missing, the fluctuations are real and constant. The full spectrum of what it is to be human, often grazed over in the busyness of doing, has come barrelling out of its kennel like a snapping dog that has burst its leash. The highs and the lows, usually swept up in the current of checklists and appointments and deadlines and planning, have been peeking their shining heads above the parapet. My friends and I have been talking about the things we’ve learnt from this period of uncertainty. One mentioned she had realised how little she needed to be happy. Another laughed and said he had enough jeans to last him 10-years of wearing; that the scales of materialism had fallen from his eyes in an extended period of uggs and tracksuit pants. Another said she had understood fully the lament that Nature does the dealing and the healing. A dear friend of mine, the most ambitious person I know, said she felt content for the first time in a decade, the burning fire of her ambition at last tempered by the sweet, holy gratitude that she had a job among a growing circle of friends losing theirs. Every single person I have spoken to, when we rootle around in the details for long enough, has come out grasping a silver lining that seems altogether worth it.
We came back to Tamworth to get married and now, two months later, we're still here. Our wedding was slashed from 180 to a handful, our back paddock serving as our chapel. But we still managed to tie the knot on a windy mid-week afternoon. With a woolly, stormy sky as our alter and long blonde grass waving me up the aisle, I felt closer to God than I had for a while. I sit at my desk now and feed the chomping beast that is online content, coals-glowing ember hot on the copywriting train. Mum has forayed into poddy calf rearing and it's a family affair; all of us walking around smelling sweetly of powdered milk. As we usually live overseas, it has been an unprecedented amount of time at home. Usually reserved for the big events, Christmases and holidays and family weddings; living here feels rooted and permanent. Now, it's no longer catching up with the keen hunger of months apart. We spend time with each other in the pockets of the day, breakfasts and lunches and walks and yoga sessions in the living room. Collective Netflix and chill after dinner. Saturday talent shows. Collecting firewood and mowing the lawn. It's interesting to me how quickly we adapt. How quickly you forget what life was like prior. So mundane and now normal, we could be teenagers again, if it weren't for the fact I'm honeymooning at home with my entire family.
One of my bigger learnings has been a growing aversion to the commodification of our time. The memes about coming out of isolation with a six-pack and a completed screenplay and an organised wardrobe have wrestled on my social media daily with those detailing day drinking and leg hair length. At first, I was so anxious to make the most of this time. To make the most of a pandemic! I mean, really. No wonder the millennials are the generation of the burnout. Now, I think getting through it, is an excellent start. Doing the best you can. Maybe you meditate one day, maybe you sleep till noon another (perhaps not for the parents. I’m sorry for your sleep loss). Progress bundled up entirely in taking another breath. Staving off apathy. Taking an online Pilates class because you are pleased to move your body, then eating some cheese. We are grateful. And we are also tired. It doesn’t have to be one or the other. You can be both. The arcing rainbow of what it feels to be a human being in 2020; the noise and clamour and scrum of the media and your Facebook feed and the silence of Times Square and the shuttered windows of your favourite café. it's alright not to feel #blessed all the bloody time. It's normal to feel like your guts are playing a tug of war between the weariness of Groundhog Day and adulation of 9-5 coming to a grinding halt. The weird see-saw of a polarising time. The terrible deaths of somebody’s loved ones and the utter aliveness of a wren hopping past your window. Yawning hours ticking by, businesses crumpled and lost, while new opportunities spring up in the void like daffodils after a thaw. Fortunes lost, loo paper shares soaring. A lethargy wrought by the uncertainty of what a new world could look like and swans returning to the channels of Venice. Lost clients and time spent sharing a cuppa with my family on the deck every afternoon in the autumnal sunshine. And. Both. All.