What I learned (or relearned) during 2020

December 24th, 2020Posted by Nancy

The best thing I ever did was figure out that love is not a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach

Once I got that sorted (roughly 32 years ago), I was able to realize that the person who made me the happiest was the man I would go on to marry. We celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary this year. We had to lift our glasses of champagne in our back yard rather than in Barcelona but that didn’t matter. I can’t imagine a better person with whom to spend a year (and likely longer) of social distancing and change. We have lots of interests in common – we like the same movies and food and music. We have our own pastimes – flamenco, history, writing for me, cycling, technology, music composition for him.  We go for walks on our own, we go for walks together. The truth is that he contributes far more to our partnership that I do (he cooks, he organizes, he shops, he plans, I … well, I guess I garden and do travel planning). I don’t know how I got so lucky. I’m pretty sure I don’t deserve it.

I love living in the city

During the early days of the pandemic, there seemed to be an endless stream of think pieces on the “death of the city”, as if the only reason people live in cities is to cut their commute times. There are definitely more rural places I love – northern Ontario cottages, small towns in the mountains, the Tuscan countryside (wait, who doesn’t love that? Maybe that doesn’t count). Of course I check out real estate outside the Toronto and in other provinces. I fantasize about being the kind of person who could live in a cabin up north – but I long ago figured out that is definitely not who I am in this life. Maybe the next one.

I realized that I don’t love the city just because of restaurants and concerts and museums. I love it because I can take the TTC to get most places I want to go. I love it because when I walk to the subway station there are 5 different routes I can take. I love that I can go for a long walk and it seems as if there are an endless combination of streets I can explore. I’ve lived in suburbia and I hated having only one sensible way to walk anywhere and your meanderings restricted to an infinite recursion of cul-de-sacs and crescents. I love the big trees and even the ongoing changes on all those streets as small houses go down and big ones go up. I don’t need a big house or yard. Our bungalow and small yard with lots of plants and no lawn suits me just fine. Even during a pandemic. Especially during a pandemic.

I still don’t care for shopping online

I recognize the necessity of it this year. I’ve done it in small doses to support Canadian companies and my favourite designer. It’s pretty much the only way to get flamenco skirts. I try to avoid Amazon at all costs, though I admit that I’m a beneficiary of my husband’s Amazon purchases. I don’t really like shopping in person either – but if I’m going to do it, I’d rather be able to look at things and try them on. I’m just old school that way.

Staying home is not so bad

I miss my friends and my family and flamenco class and even the gym. I’m sad that we didn’t get to go to Spain or see concerts in person. As long as I can go for a walk, it’s not hard to spend my time at home. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when this is all done.

It’s not time I’m lacking

I knew that, of course, but the discourse around writing King Lear while in isolation reinforced it. I have lots of the time to write and be creative. What’s missing is what has been missing for years: the old joy, the old confidence, the old faith that I will find my way.

I’m lucky

I knew that too, but it’s always good to be forcibly reminded of that fact. It’s easy to forget it and feel sorry for yourself for all the things you lack in yourself, the things you regret, the things you’ll never do. I’m not sure I did anything to deserve it, but I am indeed extremely lucky.

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