Tomorrow will be June. Already we’ve seen two weeks of warm weather, the air conditioners have gone into their customary window slots. Restaurants and business still remain closed, their French windows and doors open to be more accessible to passerbys; some businesses have even converted storefronts to walk by bars – alcohol being the biggest margin item on most menus. People are drinking on the streets. Supporting local businesses. Trying to keep sane.
It will be almost a month in the new job and it still feels like just yesterday that I was unemployed, concerned about COBRA, and wondering what the next thing might be.
Deep, deep melancholy about what summer would be like this year. I think sadly back on last year, just twelve months ago I spent summer so carelessly. In my corporate job, all the days blending into one. I was living in my midtown apartment, annoyed and frustrated about being hot in my work dress under the burn of 80 degree sunshine. How many lunch hours did I spend walking to the nearby poke bowl spot, paying my $16 + tip and heading back to the office. Five minutes outside without a mask on, completely taking for granted that I could wait two inches from other corporate salary people for my food.
This pandemic took all of us by surprise. How unaware are we to our privileges? How unaware were we to how good life really was? How good life really is?
I think back to last year, being annoyed at taking the subway to work… compared to now, where taking the subway is a whole psychological endeavor – requiring preparation of the mind to play the same soundtrack during the 30-45 minute commute:
1. find somewhere 6 feet away from EVERYBODY
2. make sure your mask is still on correctly
3. don’t touch anything more than you have to
4. did you touch anything with this hand? How about this hand?
5. do you really need your phone or can it stay in your pocket – cootie free?
6. don’t touch. Your fucking face.
Isn’t that so crazy?
What are things that I am more mindful to be grateful for? Companionship. I have still been able to see a loved one, to physically touch someone, and talk to someone. Technology – that allows me to see more loved ones by video calls. Technology – that allows me to stay in contact with my friends. Technology – that has allowed me to regain employment, professional engagement, and be part of a team trying to problem solve. Technology – the ebooks, podcasts, and blogs, and wonderful community of writers, teachers, learners out there that have helped me grow so much during this time.
They say gratitude often shows up too late and with another name – regret. We regret we didn’t take more joy in the things that we had. Last year – going to restaurants, seeing family and friends, taking the subway, going to a dance club, going to the gym or spa – literally everything from last year before we had to worry about a silent, invisible virus wrecking all kinds of havoc on modern life.
What are some things to be grateful for today – so we don’t end up regretting that we didn’t enjoy them more. How can we savor each experience just a little bit longer?