When COVID first sequestered us to our homes, my everyday structure, like the everyday structures of many others around the world, dissolved. Suddenly, I wasn’t leaving home at 7:30 am for a half hour bike ride to campus, with my lunch and dinner packed for a full day of lessons, practicing, recitals, performances, classes, meetings, homework, rehearsals, and social time. I wasn’t riding that same route home at night with all my lights on, exhausted but satisfied with all that I had accomplished. I wasn’t trying to squeeze in a daily walk with my dog, or making a big meal for leftovers, or sneaking in trips to the grocery store. I wasn’t really doing…anything, at first.
My everyday structure is like a scaffold that I can build meaning onto. Without it, my anxiety tends to creep in. My days start to feel less meaningful. Phone time increases and daily fulfillment decreases.
Over Zoom, I told my amazing counselor, Amy, that I was disappointed in days that ended up feeling meaningless. In her infinite, gentle wisdom, she asked me if every day had to be meaningful. “That sounds like quite the expectation you’re setting up for yourself,” she said.
Does every day have to be meaningful? I mean…I guessed not.
“I guess not,” I said.
Since then, I’ve lowered my expectations of the level of meaning in my days…and, in general, my days have been filled with more meaning (I can see Amy nodding in a slightly amused, loving way).
Today was particularly meaningful. I think it helps that, after over four months, I’ve gotten used to a slower pace of life. Earlier, while I was taking a bath, reflections of why my day felt meaningful bubbled up in my brain:
- I slept well.
- I meditated.
- I cleaned the kitchen and made breakfast.
- I took Junie for a walk in the warm woods.
This is where it starts getting extra meaningful…one might say Meaningful AF:
- I ordered a single cookie to be picked up curbside for my violin student who had graduated from Twinkle.
- I went to the Museum of Northern Arizona to tour The Force is With Our People exhibit. I took a lot of photos and read the artist statements, all of them connecting Star Wars themes and characters and philosophies with Indigenous culture and society. I visited to research for a future blog post for Art the Science, the Canadian non-profit that I volunteer for. I love working with this organization, not least because the entire board is comprised of incredible women.
- I took the cookie, wrapped in a smart pink box, to Cora, my Twinkle achiever. I approached her house, heard “She’s here!”, and saw the door open and a little masked girl pop out. She was so thankful for her cookie, and proceeded to tell me all about her cats, and her sister, and the hummingbirds, and the squirrels in her backyard, and the intricacies of the bakery where I had picked up her cookie…Cora was so excited to see me, and I her. It had been a long four months of seeing her slightly pixelated face on my laptop or phone screen and being unable to take her bow or move her fingers. Now I could at least see her irl, as the kids say. When she opened the door, I said, “Oh my gosh, you’re real!” And she said, “Yep.”
The rest of the day was pretty typical:
- I ate a quesadilla.
- I cleaned the kitchen again.
- I took a bath.
- I worked out.
I think the meaning came from connection. I felt connected to Indigenous expression, I felt connected to others passionate about SciArt, and I felt connected to my student who I hadn’t seen in person since mid-March. During COVID, any little connection counts.