A Yearning for Simplicity

Photo by Amos G on Unsplash

As Covid restrictions are lifting, life is returning to busy. Last spring most kids’ sports were either halted or attendance was restricted. Now as I am one of many spectators at the Little League and flag football fields, life appears to be completely back to normal.

As a divorced, working mom, life never actually slowed down during Covid. My kids’ schools were shut down, and then shifted to a hybrid schedule. I have been fortunate to be able to work from home this entire time, but the workload still hummed along as normal.

Covid life was still busy. Too busy actually, as working parents have gotten slammed this past year. Attempting to work while managing kids’ remote learning is no easy feat.

We have been busy in our homes. Nowhere to go, but plenty to manage under our roofs.

Through the winter, we went almost nowhere.

I live in the Northeast, so it was cold. We spent much of the winter cooped up at home, yearning for warmer days.

I missed my friends. The bi-annual girls trips I take with my college girlfriends have been on hiatus. As were the lunches and happy hours I used to enjoy on my kid-free weekends, since it was too cold for outdoor dining.

Now that the weather is warmer, there is more happening outside of our homes. People are getting vaccinated and are comfortable with going out again. I am enjoying having places to go and people to see.

I love socializing, so the isolation of Covid was not something I enjoyed.

But the lack of obligations was.

I do not want my activities to be restricted, but I want more choice with how I spend my time.

The idea of going back to the non-stop busy rushing of pre-Covid life is unappealing to me.

Over the years, I have discovered that happiness is often found in the subtraction of things.

Weekends packed with sports and activities and kids’ birthday parties and constant hustle and bustle was “normal” life pre-Covid, and it is what awaits on the other side of the post-Covid return to normalcy.

But what I yearn for is weekends of nothing, where I can choose to fill my days with only the things I want to fill it with.

Perhaps that freedom of choice is something you give up in adulthood, and especially once you become a parent.

But why do we live our lives this way? Is the return to what we call “normal”, actually a return to the dysfunctional excessive busy-ness that we have normalized?

I studied in Spain for a semester in college. Before we left for Europe, our college informed us that we may experience culture shock from living in a different country.

Oddly enough, I did not experience culture shock while I was in Spain. But I did experience intense reverse culture shock when I came back to the US.

Life in Spain was slower. I believe it was closer to the true normal way of life we humans are meant to live.

I lived with a Spanish family. Everyday for lunch the father would come home. He would eat and then doze off at the kitchen table.

The Spanish siesta is real. And it still lives on.

After class, we would gather in the plaza, order bottles of wine, and sit around talking and drinking. Then we would wander the shops and try out different tapas restaurants. At night we went out drinking and stayed out late, dancing in clubs that didn’t even open until 2am. It was not abnormal to return home as the sun was coming up.

Yes, we were college kids, and aside from classes, we had no other responsibilities. Therefore, we had the luxury of staying out late and spending hours doing whatever we wanted.

But still, returning to the US meant a return to harried life. And once I returned to that, I yearned to return to Spain.

I yearned for the slowness and simplicity of European life.

And here I am once again, many years later. Yearning for slowness and simplicity.

Yearning for weekends free of obligations. Yearning for a weekend free to enjoy life.

Spending hours at the pool, alternating between relaxing in the warmth of the hot sun and playing in the cool water.

Going for a run. Hitting golf balls at the driving range. Doing yoga outside on the grass, my bare feet grounded into the earth, feeling the coolness of the dirt and the grass.

An evening spent outside sitting on the patio and listening to country music. Lighting a fire in the fire pit once the air becomes cool and crisp. Roasting marshmallows. Drinking hard seltzers. Laughing with friends.

A rainy Sunday spent playing board games and putting together puzzles. Watching movies and snuggling kids.

I yearn for more time to be present.

I yearn for more space to breathe.

I yearn for simplicity.

Does it have to be the way it used to be? Or can we choose different this time?

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Julie Lynn

Julie Lynn

4X Top Writer. I turn pain into stories about what it means to be human. julie.martina.writer@gmail.com. Join Medium https://juliemartina.medium.com/membership