Over the past few weeks, our lives have grown busier. And as our lives have grown busier, I have felt a familiar feeling I haven’t felt in quite some time.
I noticed it last week when I was making dinner. It was a tightness in my chest, as my mind was making a mental checklist of the things yet to be done, and as I was scrambling to get dinner on the table in time for my daughters and husband to quickly scarf it down before heading out the door to their softball game.
It was a feeling that felt all too familiar. Yet, so distant.
I haven’t felt this way in so long.
I haven’t missed this feeling.
I have tried to postpone this for as long as possible.
Can any of you relate? Do you know what I’m talking about?
Some were quick to resume life as close to normal as possible, and others, like us, have taken our time. We chose to have our children learn online this year, and with my parents and other family members considered high risk for the virus, the amount we’ve participated in over the past year has been select and few.
But over the past few weeks, as my family members and my husband and I have received our vaccines, and the numbers have begun to dwindle in our community, we have started to venture out more. We signed our girls up for softball, and told our daughter she could help with a performance at the middle school. And even with the girls playing on the same team, it has been reminiscent of a time when we were running from here to there. A time when I was worn out and burnt out and in desperate need of a break.
And I know it’s good to start doing things again and it feels like the right time for our family, but I can also feel a bit of resistance growing within me.
A desire to move forward, but not too fast.
A desire to get out and do things, but not too much.
A desire to participate, but also to continue to rest.
I know this anxiety I felt the other day. It’s like a visit from an old friend. It was familiar. And it was also something I haven’t felt in so long. It was the feeling of needing to get out the door and hurry up and not forget anything and move on from one task to the next quickly and efficiently.
It’s a space I know many people have been living in for a while now, but our family has not.
This is for all of you who have slowly come out of your shells. Who have chosen to social distance longer than others. For those of you who are beginning to emerge, but not too quickly. For those of you who are ready to begin engaging with life, but maybe don’t want to do all the things you once did.
If you can relate to this, and if you feel this — I want you to know I am right there with you.
I know it will be good for the kids to return to school in the fall and I’m glad we are beginning to participate in some activities, but here’s the thing — I don’t want to do all the things. I don’t want to say yes to everything that comes our way, because there are a lot of great things we can say yes to, but just because they’re great, doesn’t mean they are right for our family.
I don’t want our calendar to be so full again that when someone wants to get together, we need to look at the next month to pick a date.
I have grown fond of spontaneity and room to breathe in our schedules. I like wide open weekends, family dinners that aren’t rushed, and the ability to yell “Who wants to go on a walk?” Because there is nothing else we have to do.
Maybe I’m asking too much. Maybe wanting to participate in things and wanting space is wishful thinking, but I have to believe it’s somehow possible.
I know there will be moments of pressure and rushing and I know there will be nights when we have multiple games in one evening and have to divide and conquer to get the kids to where they need to be. I just also want room to breathe. Room to relax. Room for rest. Room for spontaneity.
The pendulum has swung from one extreme to the other and I hope and pray that it can now land somewhere close to the middle.
That we can participate and still rest. That we can be social and still carve out time for family.
That we will carefully consider our yes’s and our no’s.
And that the lessons learned over the past year won’t be lost, but instead will be woven into the fabric of our days.