Welcome to spring 2020. You officially have no plans.
You will not meet up with your friends on the night you carefully selected weeks ago, back when it was the only time that worked with all three of your busy schedules.
You will not take advantage of that new, cheap route you’ve been waiting for—the one that flies direct to Austin—to finally spend a weekend soaking up that music scene everyone has always raved about.
When you finish your current pile of books, you will not go to Barnes & Noble to browse for new ones, pausing to hold each contender in your hands just to absorb its weight and the way that it feels.
You will not go to the mall. You will not go to the movies. You will not meet your friend for weekly scrambled-egg lunches at the Dandy Lion and stop to chat with the friendly owner, whose financial situation you now find yourself worrying about surprisingly often.
You don’t need to occasionally check online, the way you’re so used to doing, to see which writers are coming to town. Because you already know the answer is nobody. Nobody is coming to town.
Your parents will not visit this spring. Neither will your in-laws.
You will not rent an Airbnb in that random town in Illinois that is known for great antiquing.
Your new hobby is getting in your car once a day, driving half an hour to a community of German villages, turning around in the gas station parking lot and driving straight back.
You won’t have a last day at the job you quit, no farewell donuts, just the rushed realization that you no longer work here as you scramble to call clients and throw your shit into boxes that you’ll hastily pick up in the morning, before the government can tell you that you can’t, when all of downtown will be empty except for you and two homeless men.
You are not moving into your new office.
Your office is now the ant-infested room in your basement you refer to as your writing dungeon, and the webcam on the old laptop you bought used on Ebay when you were young and broke.
Your new financial goal is stockpiling money in case clients lose their jobs or get tired of meeting through a screen or gradually run out of things to talk about as the world fades to black and white.
Summer is canceled. There will be no vacation, no downtown festivals, no 4th of July, no Olympics.
The election has become oddly irrelevant. By November, the candidates and the president could all be dead.
Your grandma could get sick and die. Your parents could get sick and die. If they do, you’ve already seen them for the last time; you won’t get to say goodbye except through the screen of your phone.
Your husband could die.
You could die.
You remember what your Buddhist friend once told you about Buddhism; that attachment is the root of all suffering.
You never fully considered what that meant until now, how the only true protection to be had in this life is the willingness to part with anything or anyone at any time.
You’ve never had to sit with that before—the idea of making peace with the possibility of letting it all go.
But you’re sitting with it now. We’re all sitting with it now.
It’s the only thing left to do.