Monday, February 15, 2021

6 Things the Pandemic has Taught me to Prize

Comfreak via Pixabay
As we close in on a year of spending more time than ever at home, there are things I miss. Normalcy, travel and day-to-day life without masks top the list. Small things are getting under my skin and some days, a new sense of confinement creeps in, replacing the contentment that has been my norm.

Still, I'm grateful. I mean, I'm grouchy, but I'm grateful, both for the little things, and the things that really matter. Some I'm still able to enjoy, while others I've grown fonder of other because of their absence.

Family. This one fits into all of the above categories. My daughter, who would otherwise be off on post-graduate adventures of her own, is once again part of our household. My husband is able to work from home some days. I talk to my dad most days and sometimes even get to enjoy a masked visit, something I hope will be possible even more often once he gets his second dose of the vaccine (and I hope we aren't far behind). I miss full family gatherings, though, along with the coffee dates my sister and I used to have when she lived closer.

Quiet. Oh, how I miss my quiet house! A contradiction of how grateful I am for my family? Nope. The two coexist. I'm immensely grateful that we're safe and together, but our house is small and my family is not quiet by nature. Still, there are times -- not enough of them and neither long enough nor often enough -- when I can revel in the peacefulness borne of no televisions, music, audiobooks or slamming cupboard doors. When I can hear myself think, and capture thoughts before they're eradicated by noises inside my house or outside my window, it's a beautiful day indeed.

Comfy clothes. Sweatshirts and leggings are my winter best friends, replaced by shorts and tee shirts in warmer weather. Not sure this is going to be an easy habit to break. Maybe that's why Rachel Brosnahan called them "hard pants" in a recent television interview.

Coffee/lunch with friends. This is one I miss. I'm not yet willing to brave dining outside my own home because there are too many factors out of my control. I miss being able to sit down inside my local Starbucks with my laptop -- or, better yet, a friend -- or being able to take my daughter on an impromptu lunch date or go out to dinner as a family.

Online learning. I have a love-hate relationship with this from the teaching side, but it's pure love from the learner side. I've been brushing up on my high school French and German, learning Spanish and taking a course on social media marketing. A wonderful smorgasbord of skills, all from my own house.

Life. Before all of this, we'd carved out lives for ourselves that didn't include tripping over each other and negotiating television shows. I'd adjusted to being an empty nester, no longer feeling a wave of sadness as I passed my daughter's empty bedroom. I'm trying not to think too much about the fact that I'll need to re-till all that ground and that the quiet that I crave some days will be omnipresent before I know it.

panos13121 via Pixabay
I'd love to wrap this up with a neat little bow, declaring my undying gratitude for all the good things, but that would be disingenuous. Every day is a mix of grouch and grateful, and all I can do is try to tip the scales. 

And look for the freedom at the end of the tunnel.


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