2020… sigh. What do you even say at this point? Precedented times… what are those? Remember real life? Yeah, I miss it too.
I have never been more ready to put a year in the rearview mirror quite like this one. It’s so strange… a year ago today, we were all waxing poetic about how this was going to be our year. We made plans. We raised a glass to all that would be. We laughed, living in blissful ignorance of what lay just beyond January.
This week, most of us have been reflecting on what actually became of this year. For most, it was a garbage pit of sadness. Whether your family was effected directly or indirectly by the pandemic… we have ALL suffered. Really, if nothing else… this year has taught me to never take anything at all for granted. There are so many ordinary things in my life I just assumed were under my control until they vanished this year. Now, I am constantly stuck pondering the cliche phrase, “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.” Blurg!
And so… in no particular order, here are 20 things I really miss more than I ever realized I would.
1. Lipstick: I love rockin’ a good red lip. There are several shades of lipstick that I am committed to for life! However, wearing a face mask for the last nine months has rendered lipstick completely useless. At the very least, it’s messy. I end up looking like the old lady from that 90’s Little Caesar’s commercial… “Is it on straight?!”
2. Racing: I am not, by any means, an athlete. (I mean, even “athletic-ish” is a stretch.) However, I have become used to completing a 5K race a month. There is something about the hoopla, the competition, and the swag that gets me motivated to move my large behind on a regular basis. Yes, races are still being offered virtually… but, let’s be honest… without the fanfare, it’s just not the same.
3. Musical Theatre: As my Spotify annual wrap up pointed out, at least 75% of my favorite songs are from Broadway Musicals. This year, I had tickets to see Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway… with Jordan Fisher! I had tickets to see Hamilton in St. Louis. My bestie and I were supposed to see Frozen this month. None of that happened and the lights of Broadway will continue to be dark indefinitely. As I loop Hamilton on Disney+ and loudly sing with my Tony playlist on Spotify, my heart waits impatiently for the shows to return.
4. Hugs: Like Olaf, I like warm hugs. Hugs are strong, and safe, and comforting. When people are in crisis, hugging is a natural part of the encouragement process. Thinking about hugging and air hugs just don’t do the trick.
5. Grading Papers Inside Starbucks: I am so much more productive when I am not at home! Starbucks is my “office” where I can be surrounded by hipster music, the hum of the espresso machines, and ambient conversation. Give me a latte, a cookie, and a shared workspace, not surrounded by my dirty dishes and snoring dog… I can get my school work done in no time.
6. Public Water Fountains: Ahh, the good old days when I could just take a sip of water when I felt parched, without having to bring my own or spend $3 on a bottle of Dasani. I used to use the one in the local park as my water station during a 5K neighborhood loop. Waa waa.
7. Friends: I MISS YOU! I miss grabbing a bite to eat, game night, and getting together for every random holiday. I miss talking often and feeling like I belong to someone. You haven’t left my mind, I promise.
8. Moisturizer: This time of year, my hands are a mess… cracked, chapped, and ashy as all heck. This year, I have traded the dump truck of lotion I need for a load of hand sanitizer. (Ooooh that burns so good…)
9. Smiling: Are you happy? Are you sad? I don’t know… because I can’t see your face. Walking in a world of blank faces is so incredibly strange and discouraging.
10. Planners: My planner is like an extension of my heart and mind. Part journal, part calendar, part vision board… it is where my mind goes to focus. But when the world screeches to a halt, it is a reminder of all that I hate… so I burned that shit in a bonfire… literally!
11. Boundaries: Somewhere in that giant shift to online learning, people seem to have forgotten that teachers do not work 24 hours a day. It is Sunday at 3:00 AM… No child, I am not interested in helping you with your assignment that is three weeks late, right this minute.
12. Celebrations: It doesn’t matter how large or small the day… everything from Christmas to National Margarita Day, Birthdays to Graduations, the First Day of School to Homecoming… everything was a big fat buzz kill. Yes, we can be creative and find a way to make it work. However, after ten months of “making it work,” I kind of just want to get together in a physical space with actual people to celebrate the most random things.
13. Clear Skin: Maskne. That’s a word I never thought I would need to know. It’s so delightful to be over 40 and have a chin fun of zits all the time, don’t you think.
14. Going to Church: I mean, yes, at one point it seemed kind of novel to sit in my pajamas and sip tea during church on Sunday mornings. As the year has gone on, TV church has gotten really old though. My attention drifts from not being in the room where it happens. Corporate worship is so much more important than I ever gave it credit.
15. Fitting Rooms: Want to try that item on before you buy it? Tough luck, my friend.
16. Free Samples: Part of the joy of going to Trader Joe’s on a Saturday is sampling the new products and wine. This year The Taste of Tuck (the most glorious sample day at the local liquor store) got the kabash too. On the bright side… I guess my impulse buying of food and booze has gone down?
17. Purpose: I have spent the majority of this year feeling like a plastic bag drifting through the wind. What day is it? Where am I? Did I brush my teeth? Am I wearing pants? Who knows. Who cares.
18. Movies: I spend the majority of my Saturdays in the Summer and Fall at the movie theatre with a purse full of contraband candy. There were so many films that I had high hopes for this year. Trust me… the wonder gets lost in my living room.
19. Dining in: I like going out to eat. Like, leaving my house and letting someone else cook and do the dishes for me. This year I have eaten pizza on a parking median. I have consumed cheeseburgers in my car. I’ve had boozy slushies on the freezing cold sidewalk. I kind of just miss wait staff… and chairs.
20. A False Sense Of Security: Most of all, I just miss “normal.” I miss having the sense that I can plan something and knowing that it will just happen. I miss alone time in my house. I miss knowing that the bills are going to get paid. I miss the stress and busyness that comes with being a music teacher in December. I miss the ignorant bliss of believing everything is going to be ok.
Oh 2021… please be nicer to us. It often seems like the hope factor keeps getting pushed further and further into the future. I wish with my whole heart that some pieces of normalcy begin to return to us as the vaccinations begin. May the odds be ever in our favor.