We are fortunate enough to live walking distance to a grocery store that hardly ever has a long line at the entrance, and which sells the kind of obscure specialty foods that our family regularly consumes. More often than not, we have been able to get exactly what we need and with relatively little hassle.
I am well aware of what a blessing this is.
Pre-quarantine, I was a daily marketer. I made the rounds between the Trader Joe’s, the Whole Foods, the Sprouts, the Vons with phenomenal frequency and it was a huge adjustment learning to shop in this new world. Which, for our family, has meant twice monthly trips to the Costco and the occasional trip to our local market for what we aren’t able to purchase in bulk.
Turns out, the Costco is basically the best store ever. The selection of organic produce, grass-fed dairy, alternative pantry staples, and household goods at great prices is unparalleled. Because of these new shopping habits, for the first time in my adult life I proudly have a storage pantry. I feel just like my great-grandma every time I head to the garage to retrieve a canned good or to fill up the flour jar from the fifty pound bag I bought early on when that was all I could find in the store: prepared and proud of it.
Even in my head, it sounds silly to say, but my life has been changed by this imposed homestay. For me, it has not been isolating, it has been incubating, an intensely rapid season of personal growth and transformation. I know I am not the same as I was the first day of quarantine, and I’m glad. Quite frankly, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Ten years ago, I was carless, bound by the limits of what I could accomplish by bicycle or public transportation, which automatically caused my life to slow way down. Emet and Jade were little, we lived in West LA, and I look back on those as some of the best days of my life. I loved the pace of things, the way a trip to the grocery store was an all-day event, or the careful way we’d orchestrate our errands so we’d never backtrack or have too much to carry early on. It took planning, and an acceptance that we could only do so much.
There are plenty more similarities between that time and this, which to me illustrates the cyclical natures of pretty much everything. But my point is that I learned some of my most valuable skills during the years I spent living without an automobile, and this time I’m spending without access to the outside world is proving to be every bit as essential to refining those skills and cultivating new ones.
Eventually, this will end. When and how and what it will all look like are unknown variables, but a day will come when orders will be lifted. I plan to be ready with all I have learned to step into the world in a more mindful way than before.
For now, though, I’m content in my cozy home with the ones I love, and enormously grateful for good food, curious hands, and the laughter that underscores the majority of our days.