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A few years ago, I wanted to make a point of only publishing writing that I thought “mattered” in some way to people other than myself. More critical thinking, more sharing reflections on philosophy or spirituality, more advancing the ideas of courageous and productive living. As my household is on day 19 of staying at home (St. Louis put shelter in place orders in a week after my partner and I decided it was time to disengage), I’ve gone up and down in feeling grounded and rudderless, purposeful and bored. In that time I’ve been out for groceries and immunity support products twice; as of this afternoon most of our food will be coming in through services like Imperfect Foods and Sunbasket (though they are currently making adjustments to their model that make preclude some orders from being fulfilled, as I just saw in my inbox). The wine rack built into the apartment we stay in is maybe more ready than it needs to be thanks to Winc, and my newly developing whiskey tasting hobby has been fueled by Caskers.
On the one hand, it’s great that this kind of infrastructure has started to be put in place to provide services to households whose incomes can accommodate the costs. On the other hand, it is absurd and questionable how capitalism and privatization impacts supply chain and can direct access to food, vitamins, medicines, and completely non-essential luxuries to those who can pay for it, leaving others iced out and required to participate in the risky business of interacting with people during a highly transmittable, often asymptomatic viral pandemic.
There are lots of discussions of this written and curated by people with more knowledge and attention than I have, so I’ll let you check them out, if you choose (I will add some links below as I find things I’ve liked — they’re eluding me now and I don’t want to lose momentum).
I have always questioned the value of my skillset to the world — writing, analysis, data munging, facilitation. These are all useful skills in a knowledge economy, but any time my mind turned to versions of the apocalypse they fell significantly to non-essential ones. To counter this feeling of being relevant only in the status quo, I started learning more about permaculture and farming, later supplementing this with healing and spiritual work tied to yoga and astrology. The combination of all these things is why this website and blog exist.
Strangely, my days now feel almost ideal. I wake up, read, meditate, maybe sneak out of the house to take the dog on a walk, though lately we’ve just been enjoying the privilege of having a backyard in beautiful springtime weather to reduce our travel even further. I do some work — I’ve been working remotely for three years now, so this feels normal. I planted some greens today with seeds we already had. I feel exceptionally grateful that my nesting partner and I started to make moves towards the ultimate lifestyle we wanted years ago. Had this not been true, we would be hunkered down in an apartment building in Chicago with 100 other people with one small produce store in walking distance that would surely have empty shelves most days of the week by now. We’d have the lake nearby, but this would be crowded with other people who only had the lake as their reprise from life indoors, and inevitably the world of people would be closing in on us. We might even be strongly regretting having not made the absurd leap to move to a smaller city that neither of us had ever spent much time in, but which would have afforded us a yard and a deck for the same rent we had in Chicago. We would certainly not have the company of an energetic, bright eyed 60 pound dog; or if we did, we would also be desperately regretting that choice as she, inevitably restless, ran amok in the unit, cranky and barking to go outside.
As it is, I’m freshly reminded of the benefit of leaning in the direction of my heart’s desire. I’ve never been upset with the decision to rearrange my life, but lately I’ve been particularly glad I did.