I am missing the energy outlet of putting my imaginary self in the middle of a travel brochure picture. On a hiking trail overlooking a spectacular rushing waterfall. On a chairlift creeping up and over steep and craggy rocks to the mountain bowl, pristine with fresh snow. On a beach chair with the endless shades of blue water stretching out before me. I am being forced to live in the absolute present. Planning for the future is futile and premature, despite a vaccine on the horizon. Still too many unknowns.

Bookings and timelines for trips, desperate to be realized, are still just talked about. It’s on my list. When things open up. After the vaccine, rapid testing, shorter quarantining. I am wired with currents of urgency and scarcity. So, I sit in the big Wait. In flashpoints of impatience and anxiety. There will be incentives and sales and we’ll miss them if we wait. When “things” open up, there will be a mad rush and there won’t be space. The flights, the tours, the untamed places I want to go will be overrun with desperate and rich gawkers.

Planning a trip gives us focus. It promises an escape from the present. It guarantees a new lens, if only temporary, on our relationships. It gives us an outlet for our emotional energy. We get to build our fantasy. If travel has been the salve for scarred selves or flawed unions, its absence is felt even more deeply. The pandemic has provided a crash course in consciousness. Whether we like it or not. There’s nowhere to get away from ourselves. Or her. Or him. Or here.

My energy is searching for ignition. My mind and body are craving novelty. The comfort of routine is being undermined by boredom and complacency. The usual prescriptions of a short getaway, an exotic holiday or throwing a holiday party are not options. I’m forced to burn energy in the present. In this house. In this county. With a small circle of bubble sharers.

So, we bought a stationary bike. We managed to order and have it delivered just before the latest wave and subsequent out of stock stickers that we see on products for at-home activities. The demand swept into our bubble and created excited anticipation for the arrival of a mammoth, impossibly heavy carton.

With the help of a social circle friend, the box was wrestled up to the loft and assembled. The features are endless. Two shocking pink dumbbells on hangers below the perfectsize waterbottle holders. An almost comfortable, bright red padded seat. Clips for biking shoes or strap-in baskets for runners. Adjustments to ensure the perfect height and angle for maximum speed and optimal effort. Digital readouts for an accurate measure of distance, cadence, resistance, and calories burned. An eye-level shelf for your Ipad. And a monthly bill for the app to access your choice of instructors, classes, music and difficulty. The shrine of next-level Covid-fighting fitness sits overlooking our beautiful valley and the distant hills we climb with our imagination and sweat.

It’s working. I am shaking up my daily routine with spin classes. I am out of breath, sweating and pedaling to my choice of soundtracks. Desperate to keep it novel, I tried a cycle/bodyweight boot camp class. During and after the session, I experienced muscle pain in new places. I’m adding protein powder to my post-workout smoothies. And I’ve restarted yoga to manage the sore neck and shoulders.

The addition of a new exercise modality has created a contagion of new and different. A ripple of energy. New hiking routes, new recipes, and new projects. An art class, an hour of guided meditation. And intolerance of fear dressed up as tired.

Moving out of your comfort zone, away from routine, into the New can be either paralyzing or energizing. I choose to step in and find energy.

                                                           At least, that has been my experience.