This morning an embossed envelope arrived in the mail. When I saw that it was an invitation to a dinner party in honor of a well-known artist’s exhibition at a major London museum, I felt a twinge in my stomach.
Years of intense activity around the world hampered my writing but all the travelling it entailed came to an abrupt stop when the pandemic broke out. Staying put has given me the peace to finally start writing again.
I had told myself that when things returned to normal, I would only allow for a few very select events to interrupt that creative calm. But now that the world is calling, I find it hard to resist even though I know that going away, albeit for just a couple of days, will seriously interrupt my writing routine.
I was excited at the thought of seeing art in real life rather than virtually and I thought about the old acquaintances I’d encounter after several years. I long for the animated conversations I’ve missed so much and the adventure of meeting new people.
At the same time, a sense of disappointment crept up; I had hoped that my newfound pleasure in writing would have worn away the biting feeling that life is elsewhere. But the twinge in my stomach was a sharp reminder that my fear of missing out remains, just as strong as before the pandemic. Perhaps even more so.
There’s one notable difference though. During the pandemic I learned to build time between an urge and acting upon it, if only because acting was often constrained by the Covid measures. I’m applying that mental pause in my daily life now, a variation on that age-old advice that when angry you should count to ten before you speak. Except that in this case, I will have to count quite a bit longer.
I put the invitation on a stack of papers that I will look at later. I hide it somewhere in the middle, knowing that I will not encounter it until long after the event has taken place.