The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

The best of all worlds

Typically it is the one we live in.

However, most often, the illusion is, that it is another. And as a result of the idea, that a best world exists, comes the fantasy that it is possible to find it and stay with it.

The plan thus is to establish a life plan that leads to that world and lets us stay there. But that’s not what life, with its maze of change, planned for us.

I live in a rural area, it is beautifully located. During the pandemic, it gave space to move around and be outside. A breath of fresh air while thinking about all those confined and not able to step outside for more than the essential items and movements. The pandemic, with its convenient zoom calls, added to the ease of staying in contact and expanding my network. Along the year I realized how many of the people I like to exchange with live at least a 2 hour’s drive from here.

It all contributed to reshaping my network. Part of it being that the no contact rule had a strong impact on the close by network, it almost evaporated. For many people, it has been too hard to select with whom to meet or to find ways to do it safely without being able to do it as usual. Many, including myself, couldn’t find a safe way to renegotiate their relationships. Shifting habits is a challenge. The habits and places we had to meet people, the rituals of hugging or kissing, all had to be redesigned. It made it awkward for people to negotiate a new mode.

An image I’ll keep from that time and living a rural life is of moments in which the world outside seemed to have become noiseless.

Consequently, missing contacts belongs to my pandemic journey. It led to a fantasy that cities with many people close by must be more fun. I imagined them creating multiple possibilities to have an almost natural flow of exchanges about the small details of life.

Talking with people living in large cities changed that perspective. They might have had more seamless opportunities of seeing others and greater ease in seeing trends. However, for example with shops and restaurants remaining closed many small habits and conveniences had disappeared and needed to be reinvented.  With life and activities remaining very visible, it felt easier to stay up to date on new rules. But with more of them applicable they were experienced as more intense restrictions with a need to constantly adapt. Not to forget that big cities with their large populations have proportionally little space. It is easy to find oneself with too many people in the same spot. Keeping distances and feel safe about being outside became a constant attention and quest to avoid dealing with overwhelming groups of people.

Busyness had become a challenge instead of a sense of aliveness.

Nothing of this is really new. For a long time, I’ve known that living where I live is a choice that has its inconveniences.

What the pandemic reminded me of, is how excuses, ease of movement and business were camouflaging these inconveniences as possibilities to be taken up later. However letting them exist also reduced the commitment to our world as is, giving inconveniences a more central place on stage.

By giving ourselves the space to realize how we let our life and environment develop we create the possibility to transform the existing into conscious choices. It gives us the ability back to make it the best of all worlds and involves choosing when and how to cross existing boundaries.

Making the right decision is much more about making it, than finding the right one.


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