I thought I'd be sitting in a fast food drive-through queue by now. I've been waiting for level 3; waiting to eat something other than groceries; waiting out the lockdown. With level 4 measures extended nearly a week, we're waiting a bit longer.
All my life, I've been waiting. Waiting for high school, when I'd practically be a grown-up. Waiting for my exchange year, when I'd live with a new family in a foreign country. Waiting to return to my family of origin. Waiting for university, for the first job, next job, engagement, marriage, promotions, babies … Waiting for the toddlers to go to school, waiting for them to be old enough to stay home alone, waiting for them to mature enough to help around the house without being asked (though this day may never come).
But we're not just waiting. Like it or not, we're living in lockdown. Our lives are stiller, our radius much smaller - shrunken from rock melon to raisin size. Tiny existences distilled to their essence.
Even raisins have complexities - ripples and folds, stems and sweetness.
We're in a holding pattern, like airplanes circling again and again, waiting to land. In reality, our wheels have already hit the tarmac. It's not a matter of "are we there yet?" We are, indeed, here. As meditation master Jon Kabat-Zinn said, "Wherever you go there you are."
We used to be able to take ourselves somewhere geographically distant to try to escape daily stresses. Even in pre-Covid-19 days when we could travel, we dragged our over-scheduled bodies on holiday, carrying bags full of id, ego and super-ego: our most primal, rational and critical selves.
Today, the furthest most of us trek is to the supermarket. Despite our narrowed paths, we're living life - waking up, eating breakfast, walking, running, cycling - while staying 2 metres apart from others.
We play with the dog and praise her for rolling over to present her pink and brown belly for a scratch. She curls into us when we sleep and warms our laps as we sit.
We work on screens, hold video meetings, turning our camera on or off depending on whether we're dishevelled in pajamas or dressed and showered.
We eat every few hours, tearing into a food supply that vanishes at a pace not seen before. We make new dishes - Thai fish cakes, chicken Marbella, cheesy beer bread … and enough bikkies to satisfy three monsters for three days at a time.
We talk during walks - about people and places we miss, about the news, about how lucky we are the beach is in our backyard, about the fact we have more than enough to eat. We marvel at the sunset and take photos of a clouded blue-grey sky streaked with pink, orange and yellow.
"Life is now. There was never a time when your life was not now, nor will there ever be," wrote Eckhart Tolle.
Knowing this, we appreciate the sweet, small moments of each day: voices of my children's teachers as they provide remote lessons. "I miss you," they tell their students.
We appreciate daily information from leaders who take direction from science and data, rather than from instinct and fear.
We step outside each night to listen to crickets and to the sea, the absence of traffic magnifying nature's sounds.
Rather than think of life on hold, imagine life progressing, because it is.
• My teenagers are growing and changing each day.
• I have opportunities to learn new ways of working and to connect virtually with colleagues for commiseration and help.
• We have more white space in our lives to pick up the phone, start a video chat, write an email to those with whom we've lost touch.
• We can finish projects around the house and plan others.
• We can encourage a friend who's down and accept help when we're feeling bad ourselves.
• We have time to realise and act upon the fact we are each other's lifelines.
This is not easy. It's often messy. I chide my 14-year-old son for spending hours playing video games with friends. "What else am I gonna do?" he asks. There's school work. There's hanging out with Mum and big sister. These are no match for the company of teenage boys. Master 14, even more than me and Miss 16, needs to return to the world, to his surfing, mall-loving, junk food buying self.
Miss 16 has her moments, too, becoming despondent when taking wide-mouth photos to send the orthodontist becomes too much. The pictures aren't the problem; it's the toll of week after week without school, soccer or face-to-face friends.
We have no choice other than to embrace a new abnormal together. It's not the life we'd planned. It's the life we have today.
We all want to restart activities we used to take for granted: sitting next to friends, running children to trainings, having cafe coffee, attending events …
These things will be ours again, someday soon.
The greatest gift we give each other is undivided attention - not only in lockdown, but every day.
Be present for yourself and for others. Sure, it's a stiller life. But it's still life.