Is it just me, or did we all just get re-booted?
I’m assuming we all used to lead pretty busy, active social and professional lives – right up until the point where 2020 left nothing but giant skid marks on the calendar.
And in many ways, life became a lot simpler.
I’m not in any way minimizing the devastating effects that Covid has had for many people. I’m no stranger to emotional pain and financial hardship, and I’m sorry for anyone who has had to experience that.
But for those of us who have had the great good fortune of walking through the past year with little more than a giant platter of boredom served with a small side order of loneliness, I believe we’ve learned to take pleasure in a lot of things that have been taken for granted for a very long time. Things like being able to find what you want at a grocery store. Being able to take walks outdoors and smell everything in bloom. Seeing family members and friends. Getting manicures.
At the start of the shutdowns, I went weeks without seeing my daughter who lives ten minutes away, and months went by without seeing my son who lives a few hours north. Grocery shopping felt like a wilderness hunt; tracking the elusive kitchen staples like rice, beans, something to make soup with, and maybe a few paper products – you just never knew what you’d manage to snare. I even had to lower my standards on bread baking from only organic bread flour, to any bread flour, to if it was wheat and now it’s ground up, I’ll bake with it. I’m sure you have similar stories of your own.
Over these months we’ve learned to stay safe and let some normalized version of life go on. And now, like flowers in the spring and Lori Laughlin’s social calendar, things are opening up. And I have a renewed and deep appreciation for all the little things, the simpler things, the things I took for granted.
One thing that’s been challenging for me is that I’ve always been someone who had to have my “next big thing” planned to look forward to, and I still am. And it turns out I’m not alone – studies have shown that people are generally happier and more productive when they have something planned to look forward to.
But my concept of the “next big thing” has changed drastically.
My exhilaration for the “next big thing” has been supplanted by anticipation for “small adventures.” A walk on the beach, or in a park. Inviting a couple of friends for dinner in the back yard. Reservations at an outdoor café. Accomplishing projects at home, like planting a garden or overhauling a closet. Learning new skills.
As far as making plans for the future, things are still very tentative. Flying to most European countries is still off the table – another thing we’ve taken for granted. And it’s impossible to predict whether or when concerts, summer events, and public venues will be open even as tickets are being sold.
Bit by bit, however, things are improving. And we’ll re-enter, cautiously, with certain boundaries and protocols in mind, appreciating every minute of it.
In the meantime, there’s no end to the “small adventures” we can plan and look forward to, with gratitude.