One hundred days of solitude.
My apologies to Gabriel García Márquez for the partial appropriation of that title. Still, it seems somehow – well – appropriate.
One hundred days ago I packed up some files, checked out a laptop from my employer, and came home to work remotely “for a little while.” How quickly things change. It’s almost impossible to believe that I have been publishing these daily posts for one hundred consecutive days. I know it’s a cliché to say it, but “time flies.” Honestly, it seems like only last week that I set up my home office and started to settle into the rhythm of working remotely.
Now, one hundred days later, I find myself on a staycation for ten more days with very little prospect of finding anything diverting to take my attention from my solitude. Oh, certainly there are more opportunities now than there were a few weeks ago (restaurants opening, parks allowing more people, retail opening a bit at a time) but all of that depends on me feeling totally comfortable going out and interacting with other people.
I would love to spend time with friends – at least selected friends – but I have no interest in creating interaction with larger groups of strangers. I am doing my best to stay healthy and safe, and the alarming number of people out there who seem to think that social distance and wearing of masks is somehow an attack on their civil liberties make me tired. They are endangering me and everyone else through their selfishness, but I have learned in my life that the old adage is true, “You can’t fix stupid.”
So even though things are opening up a bit, I still feel trapped here at home. I can create short, tantalizing moments of freedom but they are really pseudo-freedom. At the end of the day, I am still coming home alone to be back in my apartment where I have been for the past one hundred days.
I have cleaned out every closet, rearranged my furniture more than once, washed my curtains and rehung them, rearranged every cabinet in my kitchen, and a variety of other time-consuming tasks. All of that has been kind of a desperate attempt to feel productive – whatever that word means.
As I thought about today’s milestone of one hundred, I looked online for the traditional anniversary gift for 100 years. Of course, there is none. Anniversary gifts were generally codified to celebrate wedding anniversaries and nobody has been married that long. But to celebrate in the modern world, there seems to be a consensus that the currently accepted gift for 100 years is a 10-carat diamond.
If you happen to have one sitting around, I will gladly take it off your hands. <insert groan at bad pun here>.
If you have been reading my posts, you know that I love a good analogy and/or metaphor and/or simile. So I thought about that 10-carat diamond. How are diamonds created? Well, many ways, but the most obvious is through intense heat and pressure over a long period of time buried deep below the earth’s surface.
Today, that feels relevant to me. Remove the heat from the equation and you get the concept of something being buried for a long period of time and undergoing intense pressure to transform into something new. Once created, it takes a volcanic eruption to push it closer to the surface so you can find it if you just dig a bit. After a bit of polishing and shaping, it becomes something beautiful and nearly indestructible.
See – there’s a figurative image that definitely feels like my life right now.
For one hundred days, I have been hidden away in solitude and have been under increasing pressure. As I merge into the next cycle – whether it be a few days or another one hundred days or more – I need to turn my attention towards the diamond that I am becoming. It’s time to shoot towards the surface and dig myself out of the muck so that I can move on with the shaping and polishing part of this process.
I have noted many times in these daily musings that I feel so different – internally – than I did back in March. That’s certainly true of everyone on some level, but for me it feels deep and primal in some way. Like those carbon molecules who morph into diamonds, I feel like all of the energies in the world and in my world for the past few months have changed me in ways that I cannot even truly comprehend yet.
So today, as I move forward into the next hundred days I feel a bit like that messy lump of rock, just unearthed, that is actually a 10-carat diamond. It will just take some cleaning, shaping, and polishing to finally begin to see just what it looks like.
I feel like I am just on the verge of something important now. I guess it will just take a bit more time to figure out just what that might be.
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.