I didn’t bake bread or garden or learn to sew.
I didn’t start doing yoga in my living room, or listening to mind-bending podcasts that made me suddenly learn how to live in the moment.
I didn’t learn Japanese, or make my own soap or build a shelf.
I didn’t write down my dreams when I would wake up several times a night.
Instead, I washed the dishes seventeen times a day, wiped down counters, sorted, folded, lost a dozen socks and my temper too many times to count, and took pills to try to sleep. I cried every night for my dead mother and aunt and grandparents — I cried for the summer I turned 14 and would listen to the Cranberries on repeat back when there were still grownups, and I felt safe.
I stopped looking at maps and dreaming about pirate ships.
I forgot what day it was even when I wrote it down on my hand..
I didn’t write the next Great Novel – but I wrote a Will – even though I don’t have much to leave behind.
I did try to connect with family – with friends. But some days I was squeezed into a ball, and had nothing left to give, and no room to take.
I got to know the lines on my face.
I joined an online minyan every night to say kaddish for my friend’s mom.
I had no epiphanies.
I drank less than I thought I would. But I ate more ice cream and cookies.
I forgot how to talk to people I don’t know in person.
I threw out my back.
I found my first white hair.
I didn’t leave the house without a mask.
I realized I look better some days on Zoom than I do in real life.
I let my children stay up late so we would have more time together … and also so they wouldn’t wake up so goddamn early in the morning.
I am still in the sticky middle I suppose – maybe I’ll be here for a long time even when most of you are on the other side of this.
And really, there is no way to summarize what it’s like as I sit here and think about these strange and terrible days – for all of us in so many different ways – except for this:
I didn’t bake bread.
But I am still here.