How much longer?
Is it almost over?
Are we there yet?
For most of the world, unfortunately, the answer is “Ha! I wish!”
Brings to mind kids in the back seat of a car, on a trip from A to B, C, and/or D, losing their patience and nagging their parents.
But I live in Israel, and in this tiny, multifaceted and intriguing country, the general atmosphere is “Phew! It’s over!” And it’s quite catching. Even if you know that there are still cases of infection; that hospitals still have a wing with people struggling to breathe and attached to Oxygen; even if recovered patients are still suffering from serious side effects. All that doesn’t change the fact that, overall, the situation seems to be constantly improving. Restaurants and cafes are full, both inside and out; gyms and studios (yoga, Pilates, etc.,), swimming pools are open. Kids are back at school, parents are back at work — though not necessarily at the office. I can’t say life is back to normal. But compared to the situation a year ago — wow, it’s, like, Real Life!
Yes, we had to show our “green card” at the entrance to MenTenTen ramen bar in Tel Aviv a few weeks ago, and at Fish in west Rishon LeZion last Friday. And we had to present our green-cards in order to be allowed to practice yoga at the studio, as opposed to from home, via Zoom. And we avoided public transport when going to see the grandkids in Tel Aviv, say. And we’re no longer obliged to wear those irritating masks on our faces when out and about. But, on the whole, life has definitely been on the right track, gradually getting back to normal. Great, right???
So why am I feeling so confused and out of focus?
What am I waiting for?
I remembered seeing an article in Haaretz, my go-to newspaper, about feeling lost. It’s by American-Israeli psychologist Amalia Rosenblum. (See link to the Hebrew version.) I started reading it and lost interest. Either because I’m old enough to be her mother and suspected that she had nothing new to tell me (at least on this subject); or else because, generally speaking, I’ve become more impatient recently.
Anyway, it took me a while to realize that what I should do is get back to one of my favorite activities, one that helps me focus and gives me peace of mind and satisfaction: Writing! (Um… guess what? That’s one of Rosenblum’s recommendations: Go back to base; to one of your old, fave habits.)
I decided to get back to my mother’s memoirs. I’d stopped at a pretty crucial point — shortly before I was born! But getting back to Clara’s stories required serious choices between existing chapters, and/or digging through tons of old letters of hers. So I procrastinated — something I’m adept at. But I promise I’ll get back to it. (Hey, family in the U.S. & Canada — feel free to nag me! Fern – thank you for the scanned letters!)
In the meanwhile, my cleaning-lady happened across an ad in a local paper, advertising a competition of short stories and poems. Knowing that I write, even though I’d hardly written a word that wasn’t mundane text messages for over a year, she sent me a link to the relevant ad. It was a challenge I couldn’t resist. I will update you of the outcome, even if I fail miserably. I don’t think I’ll be miserable; I’ll know I’m on the right track. Ta-ta for now!