Cooped Up

It’s not a city thing, exactly. The wintertime in this hemisphere means spending large amounts of time indoors for lots of people. But in a January that’s filled with both wintry days and looming deadlines, time spent indoors can reach epic proportions. Last week I tallied up the hours that I spent within the four (very close) walls of our apartment and the number honestly shocked me. If I was being kept here against my will, I’m pretty sure my captors would allow me more time to see the outside world than I’ve been allowing myself lately.

It’s not that I don’t get out at all. I take a walk almost every single morning of my life. But when juxtaposed with the hours that I’ve been spending hunched at my desk, the habit hardly seems notable.

I keep records of my morning journeys, snapping pictures of the sights that I encounter around the neighborhood and offering them up for public viewing as proof  for other people, and myself, that it hasn’t been 24 hours out of 24 that I’ve spent inside. Sharing photos publicly gives me ample opportunity to encounter the various record-keeping of other people’s moments. More than once this month I’ve caught myself near to drooling at someone’s trip to the local pharmacy—to say nothing of someone else’s brightly colored journey to the Amalfi Coast.

Of course I know that lusting after someone else’s peripatetic tendencies doesn’t get me any closer to making contact with the outside world. The only thing to do is to finish the projects I’m in the midst of and pay better attention to allowing myself a bit of breathing room in the next month. For now, I’ll rely on my old tips for surviving life indoors and find comfort in my flowering paperwhite bulbs and my still birdless bird feeder. In my socked feet I’ll move from my bed, to the couch, to the kitchen table in an effort to get my writing done and not turn into a lump of mush in the process. There’s comfort in knowing that deadlines will be met and spring will come again, and in having a hunch at least, that I’m not the only one out there who’s feeling a bit cooped up.

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