Moving Our Lives Outside
One of the perhaps most surprising outcomes of the pandemic is the fact that we have come to live our lives what feels like almost entirely outside. From play to socializing, shared meals, birthday parties, work meetings, art class, front door meets. It has all been happening outside since the spring.
We sat down to a festive dinner one evening about a month ago just as the weather was starting to turn here in Toronto, and I remember asking Salim if we had had our last shared meal with friends until after the winter. Were we truly not going to have anyone over to share a meal with us now that it was too cold to eat outside? The prospect was kind of ominous.
I joke these days that it is no longer about the house… it is all about the driveway and the garage. Since the lockdown started, we have seen countless hours of basketball played on our driveway among kids of all ages. The basketball hoop frankly was probably our first savior during the lockdown.
Once the summer started, we had the idea to “convert” our garage into an art studio, turning it into a home base for what would become our summer camp this summer. We filled it with art supplies, a couple of folding tables with chairs, lots of sanitizers, boondoggle, music, and board games. We offered the kids that they could paint our garage’s back wall and turn it into a mural.
Since the weather turned warm enough in late spring, we slowly became accustomed to doing anything social outside. We met our friends, only outside. If Milan played with friends, it happened only outside. If it rained, they would meet in the garage and play board games. We even once shared a meal with our neighbors smack in the middle of the driveway… which was a first-ever in 20+ years. Normally we would have at least stayed in one backyard or the other.
We became accustomed to living this way. I suppose it ceased to matter if the house was upside down because no one was ever coming inside. That was a relief of sorts. Alas, the weather is starting to turn, and we are trying to see how long we can muster staying outside. We did install a small heater in the garage, but that will only be a bandaid once the weather really turns cold.
I am hopeful that we will find ways to continue to share experiences with our friends and family outside of the house. But I am also steadying myself for the many weeks and months ahead of short days, cold nights, and a new stage of pandemic life as we head into winter.