Notes from Sabbatical, Week 2

When everything around us shut down in March 2020, so did my rigorous daily yoga practice. I still remember vividly that first week of quarantine, when no one had any idea what was going on or what was going to happen. I was still on Instagram at that time, and when Emilia, then just about 20 months old, wandered our huge garden in our previous home in Sebastopol, I scrolled through videos of people sharing their own versions of lockdown: Gal Gadot and other celebrities singing “Imagine” in a silly video, people across Italy singing on their balconies in unison, others filming themselves howling out their windows at the same time each evening…

That mental shift was hard, as was the physical shutdown of my own body. By March, it had been several months since I’d stopped nursing Emilia, and I’d begun the journey of reclaiming my body. (I really enjoyed breastfeeding and becoming one with my Spectra pump for those first 16 months, but I was also excited to move on from being a milk machine.) But when my gym and yoga studio closed, I’d felt like I took a big step backward. I had no idea that that pause in my exercise routine would last more than three years.

What do you plan to do during your sabbatical? people have asked me. I mentioned that I was giving myself permission not to think about that for the first week. But the one consistent answer I’ve given to that question is “doing yoga every day,” and I’m happy to say I joined a yoga studio last week and finally, after three years and three months, have started doing yoga in person again. Throughout the pandemic, I’ve done a mix of classes online—through my previous gym; then YogaWorks; then classes with Adriene and Cat Meffan and Two Birds; and more recently through classes via CorePower Yoga. But I’ve never been able to maintain a routine for more than a few weeks through any of these options, nor have I felt like I’ve gotten a solid workout at home. (I’m definitely an it’s-not-a-workout-if-I-don’t-sweat type of person, as dumb as that sounds.)

Since last Friday, I’ve gone to five yoga classes—and it’s just felt incredible to return. It’s also interesting how quickly the body remembers what it used to do despite how long it’s been. And finding a yoga studio that you like can also take time, so I’m glad I’ve found a place that’s close to our home and feels like a good fit for me in the long term.

Week 2:

  • Finished Severance. What an amazing show and first season! We’ve kept the Adam Scott party going and started watching Party Down. (I’m also watching The Other Two—for me, it’s more of a keep-on-in-the-background sort of show, but I’m enjoying it.)
  • Watched Dungeons and Dragons: Honor Among Thieves. I had never even heard of this movie until we were looking for easy, entertaining movies to watch at home. (It was either this or the latest Black Panther movie.) I love Chris Pine, so this was a fun one. I’m not sure if it was the edible, or the fact that I just don’t watch many movies these days, but I thought this was really good for what it was.
  • After watching D&D, I asked Nick what his favorite fantasy world is (which he said is a hard question to answer). But I think I asked it because I wanted a recommendation for a fantasy book to read—something accessible for a non-fantasy reader like me. (Note: I actually don’t read fiction at all these days, and I haven’t read a novel from start to finish in many, many years.)
  • Bought Joshua Tree Music Festival tickets for October. We will likely fly down this time around, and either rent an RV or camper van and have it delivered on site, or find an outfitter to rent our camping gear. We’re currently trying to convince other families to join us so that Emilia has a playmate.
  • Went bowling for Father’s Day. I managed a score of 135 in our first game before going downhill after that, and my dad and Nick bowled well. Emilia enjoyed her first time bowling with gutters and a green dragon ramp, which she used to push down her ball.
  • Started reading Detours: A Decolonial Guide to Hawaii, which is recommended in numerous articles and sites if you search for reading about Hawaii and decolonization, alternative tourism, and the recentering of Native Hawaiians and Indigenous narratives. (We’ll be going to Oahu and the Big Island in July.)

Published by Cheri Lucas Rowlands

Senior editor at Longreads / Automattic

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