Social Distancing Week 52…525,600 Minutes

Friday, March 12, 2021…10:48am

The end of week 52. Is it odd or is it fitting to wish you all a happy first anniversary of life in a pandemic? Either way, it’s where we are.

525,600. The number of minutes in a year. In any year. In this year. It’s a number I hear almost nightly in the midst of my eldest child’s shower song set (live theatre may still be on hold, but we are not lacking for its music in our house). It’s a decidedly large number, and yet it is smaller than the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the United States – 525,600 minutes marked by 527,726 deaths.

One year. 

I’m tired. The other people living in my house are tired. My co-workers and partners in volunteer work are tired. We’re all tired, but we’re here at the start of the next 525, 600 minutes. We’re here to see what life on the other side of the pandemic will look like. We may be both individually and collectively  tired (not to mention traumatized, grieving, frustrated, and all the other BIG FEELINGS), but we’re still here. If ever there was a time to not take for granted the miracle of another day to be alive, this is that time. We’re still here, and each new minute of this second year of life in a pandemic is one minute closer to a post-pandemic life.

As we slowly emerge from the pseudo-hibernation of the past year, I have been thinking about the things I hope to leave behind in pre-pandemic life and the things I hope to carry with me from this year into a post-pandemic life. I have not missed the frenetic pace of busy-ness and much-ness just for the sake of busy-ness and much-ness. I do not miss the over crowded calendar or the constant shuttling of kids. I have come to appreciate the slower pace of our weeks, and in talking with my kids I think the forced time away from almost all of their activities has helped them each to see which things they truly love (and miss) and which things they were doing because it felt like they “should be”. I really want to leave all the “shoulds” back in pre-pandemic life. This year has reminded me that the precious resource of time is too valuable to be wasted on a life of busy-ness and much-ness when the good stuff – love, laughter, connection, learning  – thrives at a slower pace of living. 

In ways both profound and mundane, every single minute of the past year has been simultaneously real, raw, broken, and beautiful. Decades from now when I look back at this year, I hope that I will remember it for the gifts found in the midst of (in spite of) the hardships. I hope I will remember the small stuff – binge watching tv; my youngest constantly baking something and diving deep into Japanese anime; my eldest with an unruly mop of growing out hair and discovering the music of Alannis Morisette; marathon Zoom sessions with far flung college friends; watching the changes in our front garden with my husband, “quarantine charcuterie” and stockpiles of good wine, and long conversations on front porches with neighbors. I hope I will remember the big stuff – the times we cried together, raged together, and laughed together as distinct points in time that made us stronger; the extra time with our kids at a truly pivotal point of life for them both; and the reminders to be present in the midst of the both the messiness and the beauty of life. 

525,600 minutes and we’re still here to see what comes next. That is a gift and a reason for some celebration. It is also a good place to mark an end to this series of musings. Thank you for being “with me” through the past 52 weeks. Better days are ahead and with them will come new reasons to ponder and muse. Until then…Be well my friends.

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