Earlier this month I found a few minutes to sit outside on my sidewalk just outside of my apartment. It wasn’t a place I’d typically sit or find myself, but with having to stay home these past few weeks due to the spread of the coronavirus I’ve been finding myself trying and doing random things. It was a warm day – no jacket needed at this point. I had on socks with alien heads and decided to walk the length of my home to check the mail in the front before heading back to my little spot.
As I was opening my mail, I heard a woman call out, “Hello.” I lifted my head and there was a thin, older woman across the street waving her hand at me. I responded, “Hello!” She went on to ask, “Do you live in that house?” I replied, “Yes, I do” and she said, “I’m Ellen – I’ve always wondered who lived there. We’ve never had the chance to meet before.”
Our polite banter went back and forth for a few minutes. She asked where I worked and when I told her a small business that was in digital marketing she admitted that she was hoping I would have said a small restaurant so that she could support me during this time – and get herself a bite to eat! Before our conversation ended she told me to let her know if I ever need anything. It was lovely, genuine, and considerate. Ellen is a well-intentioned human, from what I can tell from the short time we spent together.
The thing that stuck with me as I went back inside was the fact that I’ve lived in my home for 2.5 years. Not weeks – not months. 2.5 years. And I had never met my neighbor before that moment, sitting in the sun, wearing socks with alien heads, mandated to stay home to help flatten the curve of the virus.
A silver lining, I thought. Something good that has come from all of this. I met my lovely, caring neighbor Ellen. But why did it take 2.5 years?
I reflected on my lifestyle and my demanding schedule. I reflected on the number of nights I didn’t get home at a decent hour. I reflected on being too tired to want to sit outside my home, even on the weekends, because I didn’t want to potentially interact with anyone. I was tired and I needed to replenish my energy for the week I knew I had ahead of me – over and over and over again. Until it was 2.5 years later.
The thing is: I want my life to be meaningful, intentional, and full of love – for myself and for others. I do not want to just show up each and every day and go through the motions I think are necessary. I want to steer my life. I want to feel my life.
Although we’re in The Great Pause, time is still going and by no means is it slowing down. It’s almost May 2020. We’re waking up each day and we are still living, even if living feels and looks different these days. We’re still breathing, choosing, doing, feeling. We’re still making an impact; we’re still creating waves in our very own ripple effect. We still exist – and that’s what I want you to remember when you lay down for sleep tonight and when you wake up tomorrow. We still exist. And what we do, who we are, continues to matter.
So go put on your favorite socks, sit outside, and keep your head up. If by chance another human emerges, connect with them – from a safe, social distance of course. Leave your mark – they might go write about it sometime.