Sometimes, a random advertisement on a bus shelter can put your mind at ease.
As we approach the one year mark of quarantine life, I’ve often pondered: should we be planning the next stage of our lives?
If yes, what is that stage?
With WFH life, is it still worth living in a downtown condo? Should we be moving out of the expensive city, and buying a house with an outdoor space, since we’ll be working remotely for the foreseeable future?
Pre-COVID, the biggest benefit of living in the city was being walking distance to the office. That was the main reason we moved downtown.
We traded an exhausting three-hour commute on public transportation to being able to walk home for lunch. We traded crowded subway trains for better work-life balance. We traded expensive rent for convenience.
With that decision came the added perks of actually living in the city. Discovering and enjoying Toronto’s charming little neighbourhoods, the energetic hustle & bustle, hopping from one local shop to the next, and the ease of meeting friends for late night patio drinks or lazy Sunday brunches.
That city charm and perks have been on pause since March 2020, and some of those aspects permanently gone.
But when I think of “what’s next?”…nothing else appears. The alternative also seems foggy. Unclear. Unknown. Unaligned.
Not knowing what’s next, and rotating thoughts of “what if’s” and “should we’s”, sit uneasily for an anxious Type A Virgo.
But then Saturday morning happened. The rain had stopped. The streets were quiet. The city was barely waking up.
A shot of espresso and freshly baked bread from our favourite local shops that are thankfully still around, surviving the stillness of a once-upon-a-time busy strip, was the reminder I needed. This is why we love living here so much.
Maybe that’s what’s keeping us here. Moments like these.
Early morning strolls, Portuguese tarts and holding his hand while walking down an old familiar street.
Later that afternoon we met masked friends outdoors, exchanging laughs and life updates six feet apart before retreating into our neighbouring high-rises.
And we wrapped up the day by catching a sunset down the street from us. Over the last year, sunsets by the lake have been our backyard.
That brief encounter with normalcy is a fleeting moment these days but…I trust they will come back more lastingly.
Until then, maybe I should just stick to the writing on the wall.
Maybe seeing that bus shelter advertisement on Saturday morning on our way to the bakery wasn’t random after all; maybe it was a serendipitous message to say that it will all work out when it feels right.