Puffy coats and coffee cups. Both were in plentiful supply just three weeks ago at the Crestwood Community Center, that last Saturday in February. I was there to write a column about summer camp sign-ups. It all seemed so important then. Summer camps and Saturday schedules. Get in, sign up, get out. Keep moving. It’s Saturday.
Well, things have changed quite a bit since then. Hard to believe we’re being nostalgic about three weeks ago, before words like COVID-19 and social distancing and Zoom meetings became part of our vocabulary. We’ve never experienced anything like this in any of our lifetimes.
Every aspect of our life has been or is going to be affected, and we’re all in uncharted territory. This is scary. There’s a lot we can’t control, and that’s hard. But there’s one thing we can control, and that’s our attitude toward our daily life. Is there any good that can come out of this? I believe there is.
The coming weeks will be challenging, but we will have a chance to hit the reset button. We will slow down to a crawl, and that’s going to feel odd at first. But we may finally learn to appreciate what it means to live at a low tempo and stop worrying about getting to the next thing so quickly.
This could be the spring in which we remember why we fell in love with the person who shares our home. The spring when we appreciate the laughter of our kids, and the undying loyalty of our pets. The spring in which we actually notice the smell of rain, the color of grass and the warmth of sunshine.
We may finally get to know our neighbors, not in the head-nod, smile-and-wave manner we’re accustomed to as we’re rushing from our cars to our front doors. But maybe we’ll get to know their kids and their grandkids, their worries and their stories. We’ll stop assuming we know them because of the car they drive or the stickers on their bumpers.
We’ll rearrange our closets and make piles of unwanted clothes to donate. We’ll deal with the clutter in our basements. We’ll go through all those family photographs and appreciate the joy of holding personal history in our hands.
We’ll rediscover the joy of reading, not on a tiny screen that doubles as a phone, but an actual book with pages. Family game night? Bring it back. We’ll play cards. We’ll do puzzles. We’ll plant herbs in tiny pots and watch them as they sprout. We’ll build gardening beds. We’ll polish the silver.
And we’ll pray. A lot. When it’s all over — and it will be — we’ll never again take for granted parades or crowded stadiums, a Sunday church service or a Saturday morning at the community center.