contentment confidential

Being in self exile has been a lesson in yet another new journey for me. My time spent down south has netted me a two week quarantine upon my return. I thought it would be really difficult, especially not being able to see my grandkids, but this is our new reality. Being in isolation has also been a revelation of sorts, its given me time to think about why I am so contented. Most would go squirrelly, especially younger ones and even I normally get cabin fever after three days.

What is it about a self imposed exile and social distancing that has made me more relaxed and comfortable? I didn’t expect that this would lead me to learn a few new truths about myself. Keeping myself busy is what I do and my schedule down south this year was so full, I was hard-pressed to find time some days, for a nap.

We fill our calendars with special dates and activities, we pencil in exercise times (well I don’t ever do that one.. just sayin ­čÖé its always go, go, go. Well my life is go-go, then a nap.. and only then, go again. I’m retired and naps are a part of my daily routine, they just are. Playing cards three evenings a week with my friends passes the time and gives me my socializing fix. We have potlucks and activities such as crafts (which I’m totally useless at) and quilting, another miss for me : )

Being the social person I consider myself to be, isolation should be killing me. This contentment that has come over me is baffling. Everyday starts out the same way.. I have a whole vista of nothing to do. Sleeping in and eating junk food, the left overs from my road trip home, is my routine the first few days. This keeps me pretty much self indulged. I kind of feel like I’m playing hooky from life and no one is going to catch me.

Not having to comb my hair, put on makeup or even get dressed.. I’m liking all of it. I don’t feel deprived or anxious or even worried, as a matter of fact I feel free! Crazy I know, because I am basically in self imposed jail. Not having to go out anywhere or do anything, feels so good. The only downside was when my junk food ran out.. damn!

Well I wasn’t really surprised that my stash of chips finally disappeared.. at the rate I was consuming them, that was a given. I hoarded my big bag of Brookside pomegranate flavoured, dark chocolate for as long as I could. When all the easy eating stuff was gone I turned my attention to whatever else I had on hand to sustain me. The canned salmon took a hit as did the cereal, I jokingly call this man food, doesn’t take much imagination or preparation.

Physically I was adapting quite nicely, it was my mental state that I should have been worried about, but wasn’t. The hardest part and I’m being quite honest here, is the why? Why is this not effecting me adversely and how is it I am doing so well in lockdown? Some of my friends are not doing that well, depression is omni-present for some of them. We all need validation in our lives, being a single woman and a senior to boot, I think my need for that is even greater. Nothing validates you more than having kids and a partner, and I have lots of friends.

My need to socialize was my need for validation I thought, and now it’s gone. No one is validating me now and I’ve never felt better. Maybe I wasn’t so shallow after all, maybe we don’t need validation from others to fulfill us?

Eventually I turned my attention away from self analyzing, to actually cooking meals for myself. While doing that I also decided to make my meals look not only good, but Facebook worthy. We eat with our eyes first, remember that. I was a caterer for many years and that was the most important lesson I learned, early on, and I never forgot it.

So cooking and looking for different ways to spice up and dress up what I had on hand became my new challenge. My kids brought me some groceries halfway through my quarantine and left them on my balcony.. I finally had eggs for breakfast! I supplemented that with boneless pork loins.. who needs bacon? When the loins ran out I had frozen ‘wild caught’ cod filets, they were sitting in my freezer and had been there for a long time.

Cod filet and eggs maybe doesn’t sound good to you but I sure made it look pretty, with orange and lemon slices and even two fried tomatoe halves. Well the cod filet was a little dry, so much so, that I went back into my freezer to check the date on the bag ‘Jan 3 2019’ hmmm. Ah well.. I may have it again, seems I have two bags of those fillets, and don’t judge me either, we are in the middle of a pandemic, ya know..

I’ve actually started eating less, how is that possible I wonder to myself, and yes sometimes I do talk to myself. Seems cooking for one, challenging in itself, makes me more aware of how much I am eating. I usually cook more than enough always, so I divide it up and put the leftovers in the fridge. The junk food is gone so eating nutritious has taken its place, and I don’t feel the need to be snacking either. I have no clue why that is.

All this is new to me and I’m not a psychologist and well, it could be I am just lazy. I just can’t be bothered to cook and make something nice if I’m not really hungry. The point is, well who cares what the point is, this is a good thing. I have a unhealthy relationship with food, and I’m not talking about the out of date cod fillets. My take-away here is this.. ┬átaking the time to prepare a thoughtful and visually pleasing meal, has maybe fulfilled my inner self, the one that thinks I should eat anything and everything.

Another thought that occurs to me in all this self indulgent time, I have right now, is this.. there is nowhere to go and nothing to do, so in essence I’m not missing out on a damn thing! I hope this feeling lasts and I’m sure there will be pitfalls and it won’t always be like this. I for one, am going to savor this moment in time .. when the world stopped and everything was still. My body, my soul and my heart are one with my mind, this isolation thing has been a revelation for me.. how about you?