When I was young (although, I say that with a bit of my tongue in my cheek, as I am still much younger than most people I meet), I went through a stage where all I wanted to do was go.
I hadn’t yet received my driver’s license and that middle ground of always wanting to be someplace and yet being unable to go places just about drove my stir-crazy.
I frequently complained to my parents about not being able to go out with my friends when they hung out at the local pizza parlor, not being able to drive myself when I’d go to the movies, not being able to drive to the park at whatever whim or whimsy I wanted because my friends also happened to be at the park.
I remember, quite keenly, my mom telling me, “someday, you will be glad for the opportunity to stay home and not always be going places.”
I also remember, also quite keenly, feeling as though that was a ridiculous concept – I reasoned that I would never want to stay at home; what an absurd notion. I absolutely, positively, completely believed that once I was a full-fledged adult and could go wherever I pleased, I would indeed go places and rarely be home.
While I am quite sure plenty of young people grow up and do just that…it seems my mom had a sense of prophetic insight (or, perhaps, parental wisdom), as I have apparently fulfilled those words she offered to me.
Now, my friends joke that I am the “grandma” of our friend-group. I am always the first one to check my watch and go, “Oh, wow, it’s late…” when we are out. I am always the one suggesting that, rather than going out someplace, we stay in instead; after all, isn’t a nice conversation and cup of coffee or tea so much more enjoyable than a crowded bar or restaurant?
Remarkably, the “stay at home” warning of COVID-19 rarely impacted me. I had friends who felt as though they were caged in their own homes, but I have had to self-isolate twice for COVID-19 (both times, I was fine. The person I had come in contact with was fine. We were lucky), and both times I found that being stuck at home was absolutely wonderful.
Both times I worked from home, and while my spotty wifi (a well-known problem in rural Gadsden County) was bothersome, it was nice to be able to work with my own coffee mugs, my own tea kettle, my own slippers, and my own kitchen only a few steps away.
When I was younger, all I wanted to do was be out of the house, away from home, out and about and socializing.
Now, at the ripe old age of 20-something…it seems I have found that something quieter, nicer, cozier is potentially the ideal.
Or maybe I have just aged before my time and the COVID climate of staying home and away from crowds have accommodated the aging process…because it seems like every time I am out in public, the constant thought running through my head is, “When can I go home?”