On June 24th, 2020 in the peak of the pandemic I wrote a blog post titled “To the girl whose life is getting back to ‘normal’”. Little did I know that almost a full year later we would just now actually be getting back to normal. Mask mandates have slowly been lifted, people are fully vaccinated, and big gatherings aren’t frowned upon anymore. I think that in itself deserves a moment of celebration.
Over the past year, we have been mourning big losses and sometimes forgetting to celebrate the tiny victories. But now that the sun is shining again and hugs are socially acceptable, it is time to celebrate not only the small but also the large victories of life.
For example, this weekend I got to celebrate my sister’s birthday with my entire dad’s side of the family (which is 16 total including 2 boyfriends). We hadn’t seen this side of the family since Christmas 2019. Just think about that, 2019, it’s literally 2021. Anyway, we all were in one house at the lake, tubing, boating, eating lots of cookies, and just having such a joyful weekend. When we were little, we would have dinner at our grandparents house every Tuesday night with this whole side. It didn’t matter if you had practice or homework, you were going to be there. These are the people I have grown up with every week of my life, and then a year and a half goes by and we didn’t see each other as a whole.
But the sweetest thing was that this weekend felt like no time had passed. It was like we clicked the pause button on Christmas Eve 2019 and clicked play this past Friday, and nothing had changed. Weekends like this one made life feel so normal, but not like mundane and ordinary normal. Like back on track, adding to this chapter of life normal.
As much as we all hated this pandemic, I honestly think it has grown each of us in ways that maybe weren’t possible without it. And I’m not trying to give the pandemic extra credit for anything because it was horrible, but I think it taught all of us things about ourselves we maybe wouldn’t have learned if we were stuck in the same rhythm of life. (You don’t have to agree with me on this, just a personal thought.)
However, life isn’t just getting back to normal with the big events like family weekends, it is in the small things too. Like not wearing a mask as I walk into Target and actually being able to smile at people instead of just awkwardly staring through a mask. It is the joy of hearing the voices during worship in an in-person service. There is so much to be grateful for, especially now that life is “normal” once again.
So, to the girl whose life is “normal” again, embrace this time. Take time to pay attention to those around you, smile at people in the store, plan events you have been dying to have during the pandemic, do all the things you felt restricted from during COVID, but especially learn to appreciate the moments that may seem to matter the least. The smallest moments are the ones you will remember the longest, whether it’s a kind comment about your outfit, someone holding the door for you, or just a patio dance party to your favorite song. Embrace the small moments along with the big ones, because as we continue to transition back to normal life, the small things may seem to get lost in transition.