Contemplating a Post-Covid Life

Conflicted. I’ve always been, between a life in the city and in the country. This had nothing to do with my notoriously indecisive trait as a Libran, the forever balancing of scales.

You see, as a young child I had my slice of bread buttered on both sides with the upbringing balanced between the city and the country. My cherished childhood memories from both worlds are etched in my heart.

As an adult I navigate and occupy both worlds with ease. The mood of my city “Sauna Capital of the World” is easy and unthreatening. Even as it develops with all that is expected of a city, it clings to the small town feel. Friendly and casual sound cliché but it’s truly easy to be yourself here.

City Park

But even with all the laid-back yet vibrant energy, the repetitive rhythm of the daily grind and demands of adult life can make days feel idle compulsive. When I find myself looking at screens all day, anxious and living for weekends, I escape to the country.

There are many myths about country living. For example, it’s deemed a cheaper and more sustainable lifestyle than the city. Nonetheless, what is true for me is that the country is my refuge; a place to restore my spirits.

Country Garden

When I’m in the country, nomophobia abates. Because it’s almost impossible to engage in tedious and repetitive tasks here. There are many DIY projects to complete that I’m less inclined to mindlessly scroll on my phone. Instead I look forward to engaging in physical labour as soon as my workday finishes.

Besides its charms, the country helps me live in the present. This past week, a deer paid me a visit. As I sat at my desk and staring through the window, I saw a deer leisurely walking in our front yard. I stopped myself as I was about to reach for the phone. Because not all experiences are meant to be shared on social media.

Meadowsweet

In all, the hybrid way of working meets me when I am. I’m happy in city. I’m happy in the country. But digital consumption is one of the things I’m downsizing, for improved mental health, as I contemplate a post-Covid life.

a side note: One of my poems, Self-care, from a work-in-progress was recently featured at Spillwords. Do check it out! 🙂

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and blogger. Her blog focuses on poetry and creative nonfiction, and also features poets and their books.

18 Comments

  1. It’s wonderful to find peace and happiness in both locations. Being happy wherever you are is a gift that comes from within regardless of your surrounding. Settling in to our post-covid lives is best done with reflection, I think. It’s an opportunity we shouldn’t miss. Hugs, my friend.

  2. True that, a reflection is needed. So much has happened that had taken a toll on life as we know it. Thank you for reading. Sending hugs back your way…xx

  3. I don’t think I would truly survive the city if I didn’t have a huge state park right across from my home and my wee garden right outside my window. I like–and need–to be close to the city because of my medical situation, so I make the best of it. But I sooo wish I could live in the country.

  4. Certainly there are facilities that are easily accessible in the city. One of the things I like about city living is not having to drive myself everywhere but simply walk or get on the public transport.

    And yes all the nature around, and gardening make a lot of difference. Your garden, btw, is always a delight to see it bloom. Enjoy the sunny weather!

  5. They both serve their purpose, I suppose. Sometimes, it’s nice to retreat to the “country.” But most times, I’m a city girl 😉

  6. I don’t know if I could live in the “city”. I do have neighbours around us, but I feel I live more in the country. I don’t think I could live where it’s cement all around me. But, you never know? I would love to be at a lake and just sit and watch. Big Hugs!

  7. I hear you Stacy about not imagining yourself living where there’s cement all over. I echo the sentiment. Luckily though nature is not always far, even cities. One can be sure to find a park, and a lake to just sit around and daydream.😀

    Your neighbourhood though sound peaceful and surreal. Something to cherish. Sending hugs your way too. my friend. Hope you’re enjoying the summer!🌻

  8. I imagine you as a city.😊 And you are right both worlds serve a purpose and have their advantages as well as offer different kinds of joy.

  9. Khaya, I thoroughly enjoyed this! I, too, have been blessed with the good fortune of life in the city and a comfortable distance beyond into a wilderness of nature, wildlife, and solitude that can only be found in the countryside. As a child, my sister and I were witness to the darker side of city life and although our place of raising was a small yet growing city, the community within our living sphere had increasingly alarming incidents that our parents felt were becoming far less than ideal for our positive and nurturing development.

    We would soon find ourselves in a lovely new home surrounded by wooded landscape, grazing livestock and huge acreage of farmland which large expanses of crops reaching for the sky as they grew and flourished to eventual harvest. All that one could hear was the chirrup of birds, the croaking of frogs in their natural habitat and and occasional mooing of roaming cattle and call of distant roosters announcing dawn’s arrival.

    My career has always taken us into the big city yet first love has always been to reside balance and seclusion of a suburban or countryside haven to retreat to at day’s end.

    I look forward to engaging with more of your contributions soon! Thank you for a look back into my own treasured childhood and young adulthood years where memories are deeply entrenched and cherished, now and always.

  10. Hi Don,

    Thank you so much for taking time to read and your thoughtful comment. I totally relate to your childhood story. I count us among the fortunate to have been introduced to the joys of countryside at an early age. I personally think “treasured childhood and young adulthood years where memories are deeply entrenched and cherished” are some of the precious gifts a parent can give a child. There’s something grounding about the experience.

    Thanks once again, I’m so glad you shared your story with us. In this strange era we live in, it feels good to reminiscence about the past. 🙂 Looking forward to getting acquainted!

  11. Congrats on the publication! Well deserved.

    I relate to this internal contradiction. Always finding contentment yet always wanting the other.

  12. I enjoyed your poem, Khaya. You are able to do what I cannot, move easily between city and country. I am rooted like a grape vine.

    You are right, digital consumption can consume the consumer. I am fortunate to live in a cellular dead zone.

  13. If I were living in your kind of cellular dead zone; your wonderful Salmon Brook Farm with all the lovely happenings there, I’d be rooted like a grape vine too. 🙂

    Thank you for reading Lavinia. I’m also glad you enjoyed my poem as well.

  14. Congratulations on the publication of your poem. Post COVID–if we ever get there–is definitely something to ponder.

  15. I recently got back from a vacation in a very rural part of Maine. It was a much needed balm to my soul (and yes, I wasn’t on social media anywhere near as often as I usually am). I do miss trips into Philadelphia though, but I think with the delta variant on the rise, it’s wiser for me to hold off any city day-tripping.

  16. Oh yes, the soul needs time off from the noise. And how lovely to hear you just came back from a vacation! Hope the rural balm helped to soothe, revive and inspire. <3

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