I’m Just Pausing Here

Day 67, Staying at Home

Friday, May 29, 2020; Fort Smith, Arkansas

Why is it that a quarter-note rest in music looks like a bird flying away – not a pause?

I’ve been trying to write for the past month, and even wrote a blog post 25 days ago in Dallas:

I am just pausing here.

It’s my sister’s house, not mine. I’ve lived in her guest room on and off for a little more than four years, but it’s been mostly off. I escape the Dallas summer heat for a tiny, 100-year-old Chicago apartment. I’ve cruised in the fall and early winter. So while this is where I’m registered to vote and get my mail, I don’t feel much connection here.

The problem now is that I have paused, and this limbo is not for me. If I’m not going, I want to be planning to go. All I can think about now is when and where I can go next.

As I wrote on from there, I decided I was just whining. Yes, I got kicked off in the middle of my bucket list cruise. I’ve now cancelled three more cruises, and who knows about the five I have booked beyond that. I gave up my Chicago apartment and hadn’t planned on staying anywhere on land much for the next two years.

I have lots of time to walk, sketch, paint, write and read, but I’m easily distracted. I crave a cabin in the woods, a tiny house on a beach or even a table at the neighborhood coffee shop. I know — it doesn’t make much sense to think I would be more productive or content somewhere else. But there you have it.

Last week that restlessness sent me to Fort Smith, Arkansas, to live with my other sister for a month or so. Plus, my older nephew returned to Dallas for a job, and we were one bedroom short. He trumped me, as it is his mother’s house. Here I have a nice guest suite and a wonderful screened porch.

I brought several boxes of quilting fabric and my sewing machine with me, so maybe I can finish up some of those projects I set aside a few years ago.

And of course I have my watercolors. I actually finished my “half-world cruise” sketchbook slightly before leaving Dallas, including a Sydney harbor sailboat race, the Queen Victoria Building, and views from the Kuranda Skyrail near Cairns:

This is still a pause. As a planner by nature, I want to know what I’ll be doing for the next year. It’s too long to impose on relatives or friends. So I’m exploring my options – find an apartment for a year, string together stays of a few months in different places, or some other solution. (If anyone knows of a vacant mountain cabin, beach house or even a cheap apartment in a fun location that needs a house sitter, let me know!)

Is anyone else feeling this unsettled? I don’t think I’m the only one, and even those who have a home are probably not doing what you had planned for 2020.

So share how you are coping and any suggestions you have for finding focus and fighting restlessness. I’m ready to take my life off pause, but I have a feeling I need to learn to live through it.