“Things may never go back to normal. You may need to create a new normal. And that’s okay.” — johilder .com
For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved dressing up for Halloween and then taking treat bags to friends and clients. I start planning my outfit on November 1 (that’s right, already thinking about 2021) and then relish the feeling of excitement when it all comes together into a great Halloween look. But this year…for a brief moment…I wasn’t feeling so excited about celebrating a Halloween that wasn’t…normal. COVID cases were climbing; some events were canceled; trick-or-treating was discouraged. Was it right to continue as normal when things so obviously weren’t?
But let’s go back to how I LOVE dressing up for Halloween. Like doing a handstand, celebrating Halloween makes me happy. How could I entertain the idea of not doing something that brings me (and others around me) such joy when now is most obviously the time for a pick-me-up? I realized that the more I let COVID keep me from doing things that make me happy, the more unhappy I was going to be, and I became determined not to get caught up in this perpetual COVID spell of sadness. So what if I had to wear a mask on my mouth and nose when I normally chose makeup only? Was I really going to let a PPE and the lack of normalcy keep me from celebrating Halloween?
I think if we’re not careful, it’s easy to get sucked into the sadness. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot going on here, and there are valid reasons to be sad (not to mention fearful and uncertain), but I have just as many reasons to be glad — I just may have to look a little harder to find them. Case in point: I was pretty disappointed when I had to cancel our December trip to New York City that we had booked in February. This was going to be the year to finally see Rockefeller Center during the holidays. The tree. The skaters. The beautiful lights. But because of stupid COVID, the timing wasn’t right. But that doesn’t mean we can’t do something else. I immediately began planning our next trip — out west, with natural scenery rather than things that are touristy — with the assumption that NYC is simply moving down on the list when things are more “normal”.
Many times I’ve heard myself say, “When things go back to normal…” (who among us didn’t think this was going to be a temporary setback?), and it took me a while to realize that what we have going on right now, at this moment, is normal. It’s just not what I’m used to or the way I want it. Waiting to do things in anticipation of things being “back to normal” in a few weeks, months, or even a year is wasting the time that I have now. I can’t further deprive myself of things that make me happy while I hope for a return to normal.
Certainly having optimistic goals is important, but what I have now is what I have now. 2020 itself has been like a great loss — loss of security, loss of loved ones, loss of what’s normal. But as far as I know, I only have one life. And while there may be some relief that comes with the knowledge that I’m never going to repeat 2020 again, it’s more important than ever to make these days count by to continuing to doing things I know bring me pleasure.
That may require the creation of a new normal and finding new ways to be happy. And that’s okay. Even if it means wearing a PPE on Halloween.