Toward a new equilibrium (from May 2020)

I had always tested squarely in the E column between Extrovert and Introvert. I was the one up til 2 am playing ping pong in the dorm, and up for breakfast before an 8 am class. I enjoy parties and meeting people, and our friends are an absolutely essential part of my life.

When my dear (college) friend of over 40 years, Susan, invited us to dine in her backyard on Sunday, I balked. It wasn’t the fact that she and her husband are physicians. And she is an amazing and creative cook. It was the effort of getting there (a whole forty five minutes away) and fitting it into our day.

We had a 10:30 am appointment with Shirley Anne, the delightful photographer in our town who is participating in the Front Steps Project: a wonderful fundraising opportunity for local organizations supporting people during the pandemic. FrontStepsProject: Check it out!  Susan and I agreed on 1 pm lunch. This left time for us to have our photo shoot, I could walk the dogs, and then we could set off for the wilds of Brookline.

The photo session with Shirley was a blast and I had leashed up the dogs when I spotted a text from Susan. Could we move lunch back to 1:30? She had forgotten about a call with their son and his fiancé to discuss what to do about their wedding scheduled for August 23rd.

What??? Move the time back a half hour? How could we possibly accommodate that?! For a teeny conversation about something as mundane as a wedding? Amidst the pandemic? Honestly.

I continued my walk with the dogs. What else did we have planned for the day? Nothing. (other than my 20 mile bike ride).What other social plans had we made in ten weeks? None. How many times had my husband and I traveled more than 5 miles in the same vehicle in ten weeks? None.

What was happening here? Was my E(xtrovert) being smoothed down to a lower case ‘e’? In ten weeks it was all we could do to participate in one trivia night and one half hour birthday call. My husband, who used to drive an hour each way to work had completely and happily settled into a home office, despite the cat’s protest about usurping his sunny spot on the desk.

We had snapped fully into our routine of work, making dinner together and later in the evening choosing a favorite show. We have not cleaned out closets (or much else, frankly), we have done a minimum of Zoom calls (although they were fun). After converting to all virtual meetings with clients, I do not easily choose the small screen again in the evening.

Even on weekends, my husband trots to the basement to his pottery studio and I set to work on my book and somehow the time evaporates like cotton candy on the tongue and poof it’s dinnertime again.

Being able to ride my bike and walk the dogs is critical to my mental health, but somehow we have shifted from frost on the ground to green on the trees. Life has barreled on; we are intact and emerging from our Pandemic induced hibernation with blinking eyes and open hearts.

As the parachute begins to open, I feel myself yearn for the hugs of ones dear and far. I feel myself well up even considering being able to embrace our daughters instead of waving a casual hello the few times we have seen them in person.

With the rubber band of our old life stretched past the point of return to its former shape, I wonder what will have shifted for the long run. Perhaps my lower case “e” is the new me. Maybe I was already heading that way. Or perhaps it will take awhile to establish a new equilibrium for life to come. I’m grateful I am alive and well to find out.

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About Meg

Meg is a licensed independent clinical social worker with over thirty-five years clinical experience. She holds a Master’s Degree from the Boston University School of Social Work and a Bachelor of Arts from the State University of New York at Binghamton.