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Sunday, May 10, 2020

Ideal Me

Confession: I've slept better during these few quarantine months than I had for ever since I had my first child, meaning 11 years ago. The kids are older now and they don't wake up 8 times a night, that's for sure. But also, not having to perform life has relaxed the hell out of me.

Because lately, it had turned into a performance. I had found what I call my Ideal Me — the kind of a diligent, socially active person that I had always admired — and I had started to test it out, to see what it would be like to become that person. I had become seriously immersed in several associations, not a week went by without organizing some kind of a gregarious event in the village, and this added to my usual work of writing novels, directing choirs and jam sessions and raising kids was starting to affect my tranquility.

So when the news of a quarantine set in, after the inital shock had worn off, I have to admit that I was secretly content to drop everything. Everything but writing, that is; still had that 8th novel to finish, but doing only that was a piece of cake. I started to sleep 10 hours a night of deep, restful, restoring sleep. I started to smell the forest again. I taught music to my kids, had long talks with the husband, baked bread and cooked slow, delicious meals. We decided to buy some hens: the man started to build a chicken coop.

I finished that 8th novel, too.

Tonight marks the last night of total confinement. I find myself stressing over enlisting in society once more. I feel taking up associative work a terrible bore. Hustle and bustle on the streets? Don't want it. I'm too content with silence.

Many people feel there has definitely been a change in them, in the way they see the world, in the way they feel about life. Many have felt useful for the first time and do not want to let go of that feeling. It is a precious feeling to be sure, the feeling of purpose, maybe even a meaning. I am no oracle, but I'm sure many will move to the countryside to be closer to nature, closer to family, closer to themselves. Many will change their jobs, vote for someone new, get involved somehow.

What will change for me? I'm almost certain to drop out of the associations and several of my social activities. I want to be able to sleep this well.  I will raise chickens, plant more vegetables, take time to meditate much more. I will take more time to look at my children and talk to them. I want to start living the life I want to live, and not the life I admire.

And what of the Ideal Me? What will become of her?

Oh, I love her. She's a dear! So active, so sefless, so indefatigable, such a smiley face and pleasant demeanor, such an enterprising ball of fire!

But she's not me. She's more like corona, a virus that will drive you mad, and in the end, if you survive it, will have taught you who you are, and most importantly: who you are not.

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