Life, reduced

At 29-years-old, my life lacks some of the domesticity and normalcy that seems to come so naturally to my peers.

I don’t own a house yet, although I would certainly like to. Mike and I have been together for five years, but we aren’t married yet. We do not have kids yet, just a fluffy cat. Our rented townhouse’s decor includes concert posters, a turquoise painted coffee table and wooden Betty Boop’s made by a former mobster. I love the creativity offered in my job in journalism, but I definitely don’t love the pay.

Sometimes when I scroll my Facebook or Instagram feeds, this makes me feel kind of bad. Am I a loser, skipping my way through life? Or am I just not there yet? 

friends

However, one thing always makes me feel better in these moments of doubt – when I think about what my off-the-beaten-path life has given me.

Almost every night of the week, you can find me at a cool new restaurant, a top-notch food event or checking out a Garden State hangout with one of the many friends I’m thrilled to call my own. I travel relentlessly all year long and I’ve now put my foot on almost 40 countries. Within minutes after getting home from work, I’m usually bounding out the door again. I hate to waste even a minute and as such, my weekends are always packed with excitement. Every night, I sleep with the best kind of exhaustion.

Obviously, the coronavirus quarantine has put a real damper on my energizer-bunny attitude. There’s no one to see but Mike and the cat and nowhere to go but the couch to the kitchen. Each day, I still put together a modest to-do list, usually consisting of working out, doing a face mask and brushing the cat. But I’ve yet to have to pick an outfit, plan a route or research an itinerary in weeks. I’ve never looked at these four walls so much in my life, and honestly, the Betty Boops look a little out of place.

Vietnam
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam in 2019.

Although I am 150 percent supportive of quarantining for as long as deemed necessary by medical experts, I am mad at coronavirus. I am mad it has killed 247,000 people and counting, ravaged almost every economy in the world, left millions unemployed and destitute. And I’m also mad it’s wasting my 2020. I know that on the list of the world’s problems, this is the last one. Dead last. But I can’t help but be mad. Hell, you might be too, and that’s OK.

In my life, where every night is different, every weekend is memorable and every trip is unforgettable, I know that these lost outings are not replaceable. Who knows what inside jokes we would have made on that canceled trip to Boston? How much would we have loved Peru, where we planned to go in the fall? For how many years would I have laughed about that October Vegas trip which will probably not happen?

It also all makes me take a long look at my life. I was happy with what I have created, for the moment at least. But with it all gone within mere days, it makes me wonder what my life can be reduced to, what all of our lives can be reduced to. Waking up, taking a shower, going for a run, making dinner – what really makes me even a smidgen different than anyone else now?

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On a trip to Israel earlier this year.

Nothing, I guess. All of us are working from home, if we’re lucky enough to be working at all. All of our gyms, favorite restaurants, libraries, stores and destinations are straight-up closed. Is it even life, when there’s no one to see and nothing to do? What are our lives when you take everything that made it up away? 

Unfortunately, we’re finding out – now. And it isn’t very pretty.

 

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