Peace is one of those things that can be hard to find in this world. The emotional kind of peace can definitely be a challenge all its own, but there’s also this innate longing I have for there to be a place I can go to hit the reset button. If I had my way, every time life got the least bit challenging, I would run off to the beach. But when we’re quarantined, what’s a girl to do?
And my mind has been such a freak show lately that my Other Half “strongly encouraged” me to get away one night last week with a friend and figure out what’s going on up there. (That was definitely a good place to start, and forced me to acknowledge some things I’ve been avoiding.)
My usual favorite place to clear my head is driving around in the Jeep. I learned the hard way (or was reminded—I learned this last year too—) that I am too fair-skinned to go looking for peace without my sunscreen. A two hour drive Sunday taught me that yet again. And the 90 degree heat reminded my thighs why most Jeep owners know better than to get leather seats. But I digress.
Anyway, this weekend, I found another place. I needed to be home with the kids so my Other Half could get some things done, and the Jeep doesn’t feel as peaceful with 2 kids arguing in the back seat. So Saturday, while I did that thing you’re not supposed to do and let my kids play on their tablets/X-box/iPods for a good bit of the day, I brought my books, my music, and my sweet tea out onto my deck.
I’m not really an outdoorsy kind of girl. I don’t go camping. I don’t go anywhere without indoor plumbing. I always get huge welps on my arms and legs from mosquito bites every summer. My fair skin burns faster than bacon in a frying pan. My mom used to say that if I were to ever be a girl scout it would have to be in Troop Beverly Hills because I wouldn’t last anywhere else. (And if you don’t get that reference, google it, and then take 2 hours of your life to devote to Shelley Long. It’s worth it). I would usually rather sit in an air-conditioned house with my snacks, Wi-Fi, and reading chair than anywhere else.
This weekend though, the indoors was just too depressing. So for about 4 hours, I stayed outside. I sat on a cushiony bench on the deck and listened to birds and wind and cars driving by. And I felt more like myself than I have in a long time.
I, like many of you, have been counting down the days like a prisoner waiting for parole, until society re-opens and I’m able to go shopping or to the beach or the mountains. I have been running so hard and so fast from everything that is right around me that I forgot sometimes what you are looking for is sitting right in front of you.
Nothing changed in my life this weekend. Quarantine is still happening. We’re still in a pandemic which might or might not go on for months and months. My mom is still gone. My heart is still broken. But I found a little peace. And it didn’t feel like a platitude anymore. It felt like a tiny sprig of joy trying to pierce through the dark spots, like something I could hold and touch and nurture. And it didn’t matter that my kids would run out here every so often and interrupt because I was able to feel gratitude that I have them in my life in the first place rather than frustration and irritation and the need to run away.
A couple of hours on the deck did more for my sanity than hours with a therapist. I don’t know if all decks are magic or just mine, but for now, I’m just going to enjoy the moment, forget about the what-ifs, and drink in the little island of happy in the chaos. And probably I’ll bring bug spray. I know it’s not technically the great outdoors, but it’s the closest I’ll ever come to willingly communing with nature. Where is your favorite place to hit the reset button?