It’s the Easter weekend and everything and everyone is quiet. My Facebook feed isn’t exploding with posts of people doing things and being out and about and generally having a BIG life, when all I can afford is a very small one.
Living frugally has meant that our life as a family has become smaller and smaller, to the point where we hardly ever leave the house, unless it is to go grocery shopping. You might think it’s sad and I have at times, too, because it is not a life I had envisioned for myself or my kids. I wanted a BIG live for us, with lots of travel and lots of new and exciting experiences. But such a life is expensive and I just haven’t been able to earn the kind of money that is needed to lead a life any bigger than what we currently have.
The blessing in disguise, however, is that, as a family of anxious introverts, a small life suits us just fine. A life full of “arrangements”, activity and a full schedule would make us exhausted and mentally unwell. My kids don’t thrive when they have things to do outside the house. Maybe the occasional outing with friends is OK, but if they were to have constant after school and social activities, they would become even more anxious and exhausted.
So, it’s no wonder that I’m secretly loving “iso” life. Nobody is going anywhere and doing anything. There is no pressure from the outside world for me to do the same. There is no shame in staying home and watching Netflix or playing computer games. Now everyone is doing it. Not everyone is loving it, as I can see from people’s posts on Facebook, but some of us really are.
Thinking back now to the family holidays we used to have when the boys were little, they were always more exhausting than life at home. Travelling with bigger kids was easier, but the end result – exhaustion- was always the same and in the end, they don’t remember any of the places they’ve been. They were experiences for me to remember and treasure and I am grateful that I had them but in the greater scheme of things they are not the things that make my kids happy.
It is ironic that our small life of staying at home is now the new normal for most of the population. And so many people can’t cope. They are still making themselves busy with stuff to do at home, with organising activities for their kids to make life interesting, while for us it’s business as usual.
We don’t need activities, at least not many, beyond what we already have. Yes, we could do with more walks and games’ nights, but to be honest, neither of the boys seems to be suffering all that much. They have been taking themselves out for bike rides in the local bush when they really need to get out of the house, which shows me that when they need to they can get themselves organised, not needing me to do it for them.
I haven’t felt the need to go outside at all. I’ve gone for one walk, which exhausted me and the weather has been mostly miserable, so the incentive to be out in it is just not there. It’s cold, grey, rainy and windy a lot of the time, which makes me happy to stay home with my Netflix and my phone.
On good Friday, I went to get fish and chips and had to wait for my order, for about 20 minutes among so many people (all distanced from one another thank goodness!), that I came home all peopled out. I didn’t even interact with any of them!
The “iso” life means that I no longer feel ashamed for not doing stuff all the time, because everyone is in the same boat, except I am secretly enjoying this life, while many are not.
A busy life is an anxious life for some, as another friend confessed on Facebook, and I for one am glad that I made my life small and quiet long ago. Yes, it may have happened because I couldn’t afford any other kind of life, but I see now that our small, quiet life helps me cope with anxiety and depression. The little that I do gives me just enough variety and excitement to feel like I’m part of society, but to be honest, I am not missing it all that much. I am far less anxious and under way less pressure to have the “perfect” Instagram-worthy life right now and am not unhappy about the “iso” life continuing for a bit longer just yet.
Ask me again after a few weeks of supervising teenagers with their online learning, though and I might be desperate to get out of the house for a mummy time out on a tropical island.