If you think of our lives as a fried egg, we’re in the yolk.
At least for the foreseeable future.
We’ve pared our lives down.
We’re home more than ever before. In our safe place. Our yolk.
We’re living alone. With a spouse. Or have children living with us.
We’re down to the basics.
We might have a “pod”. A small group of friends that we feel are staying squeaky clean. Wearing masks. Living outside. Staying out of restaurants.
We bring them into the yolk.
And lock the door.
But what about the life beyond? The one we were living. The greater egg white?
A friend…a new friend…wrote me an email on this subject.
My husband and I were introduced to her and her husband a few years ago. By a mutual friend.
We liked them. Photographers traveling the world. Learning enough about themselves through that lens that they were open, honest…no outer guard to sluff off.
They liked us too. Feeling that, over time, maybe we’d become friends.
But this was pre-pandemic. Covid pushed all those relationships to the sidelines. The friendships not yet developed.
They would have to wait for safer times. Or lose themselves in the passage.
And what of the meetings not arranged by a friend? The random ones.
The ones that used to dot our everyday. The casual jokes with the cheeky waiter in the restaurant you love. The Uber driver regaling you with tales of his strangest rides. The crazy aunt at your niece’s wedding. The young actor sitting next to you at that play in New York eating peanut M&M’s. Offering you one. All the unexpected connections that feed your day. Fill out your life.
Those random things aren’t happening now. Everything has to be planned.
The old friend from college you were going to reconnect with on your summer trip to Athens. Cancelled. The road trip to Bangor, Maine. Postponed. Your birthday weekend touring the Smithsonian. Not happening. Those adventures that make our lives a smidge more interesting. Put on hold.
Because to stay safe we have to stay in our pod.
Inside the yolk.
But looking out, the world has become a smidge more flat.
Not only from relationships that may never be picked up again, but from adventures not taken.
Explorations you had been niggling in the back of your mind, put on hold.
Businesses worthy of consideration, not considered.
Lectures not attended.
K-2 not climbed.
Seas not sailed.
Everything has been put off to a safer time.
We are held by the boundaries of our “yolk”.
I accept this. Priming myself to focus my energy inward with renewed curiosity. Fostering my own random thoughts.
Peeling away the layers of my podmates.
But I am sad to miss the outliers. The friendships, adventures and random meanderings that lie on the now faraway perimeter of my life. That must await exploration. That, in this pandemic world, I can only longingly study with field glasses.