Natural Passover freedom statements for 2021 mimic the “Groundhog Day” movie as a replay from 12 months ago when we assessed and bemoaned the freedoms we had lost: not being with family, eating out, loss of socialization to the mundane self hair-coloring. I recently interviewed an author who declared, “The pandemic has really not been so bad in many ways.” Taking this drastic step back from the daily treadmill is akin to a birdcage: traditionally those on the inside want to get out. I had a better lesson remaining inside the cage.
Jewelry, purses and high heels literally accumulated dust. I have a more intimate relationship with television, not such a good thing except “Jeopardy” keeps the wits sharp. The months have both flown by and dragged on – primarily the former. The most valuable commodity is time. Somehow COVID brought more quality time. My freedom was getting off the treadmill. It’s the consistency and predictability, walking seven days a week (1,000 miles this past year) rotating friends, exploring neighborhoods and parks. Walking the Cumberland Boulevard Bob Callan Trail to Palisades is as beautiful as visiting North Georgia’s streams and gorges. Walking in fabulous Atlanta neighborhoods: Valley Road, Garraux Road off Paces Ferry, Rivers Call off Powers Ferry, Winterthur and off Heards Ferry, Arlington Cemetery, Bobby Jones Golf Course. Getting lost a few times happened also.
Then there is more on the other type of streaming: documentaries like “My Octopus Teacher,” “The Surgeon’s Cut,” David Attenborough’s “A Life on Our Planet,” “Somebody Feed Phil” the Jewish answer to Anthony Bourdain. Media goes beyond “Unorthodox,” my introduction to Netflix.
Using an immersion hand blender (soups!) replaced unhealthy dining out. Virtually attending out of town funerals and happy occasions that would have not been attended before got a bird’s eye view and ability to comment. There is sadness in driving by Sweet Tomatoes or Momoya and empty shells of businesses that may never again reopen.
How will freedom go forward post COVID? We have become expert at dodging people coming down a grocery aisle. Will we ditch online mahjong and go back to putting on makeup and driving 20 minutes each way for a live game? I may not go back to having house cleaners. I’ve read dozens of books. The inside of the cage has its benefits.
Freedom is separating the wheat from the chaff and deciding what to throw away and what to retain. That will define us.
Marcia Caller Jaffe is a regular contributor to the AJT.