Won’t Take For Granted

When we experience loss, it often offers us an opportunity to reassess our priorities, to view them through a different lens, and to become more fully aware of the people and things that really matter.

Now that I’ve stayed at home for over a month, I’m keeping track of the things and activities I enjoyed before the coronavirus, and won’t take for granted when I get to experience them again:

  • Sitting in a crowded theater to watch a movie, see a play, enjoy a dance performance, or listen to some live music;
  • Eating out in a restaurant full of people enjoying their meals and the company of their companions;
  • Grabbing a door handle without wondering where I can then wash my hands;
  • Washing my hands for less than 20 seconds;
  • Going to a salon to have my hair or nails done;
  • Browsing books through a library or bookstore;
  • Accidentally brushing up against or bumping into someone without being met by a dirty look or an expression of fear;
  • Sitting on a bench in a park that someone else was just sitting in;
  • The luxury of having someone else clean my house;
  • The relief of having someone else groom my dog;
  • Watching a newscast that doesn’t mention the coronavirus;
  • Worship or meditation with others in the same room;
  • Not wondering whether there will be toilet paper on the store shelves;
  • Getting on a plane or public transit or in a car with others;
  • Seeing another human face that isn’t in a box on my laptop screen;
  • Seeing another human face that isn’t covered in a mask;
  • Going out without a mask of my own;
  • Going to a museum or art gallery;
  • Going to a store to buy anything besides “the essentials” [granted, a very first-world problem];
  • For those of us quarantining alone: the sounds of others in our homes;
  • For those of you quarantining with others: privacy;
  • Spontaneously making plans to meet friends for coffee or a drink;
  • Welcoming people into my home without worrying about what they’ve been exposed to out in the world, and what they’ve touched while visiting;
  • Parties and group celebrations;
  • Dancing with others;
  • Standing in line without wondering if we’re 6′ apart;
  • Sitting with others at the same table and writing;
  • Shaking someone’s hand;
  • Holding someone’s hand;
  • Hugging

I also want to name the groups of people I will never take for granted again. The people who:

  • work in the health and caring professions,
  • are working on a cure for this virus, but for so many other diseases as well,
  • teach and care for our children,
  • sell our groceries,
  • provide law enforcement,
  • collect our garbage,
  • clean our public spaces,
  • deliver our mail and packages,
  • make and deliver our meals,
  • work in the fields growing and picking our food,
  • take care of our elderly,
  • operate our media and keep us informed,
  • share their art – music, dance, visual art, comedy,
  • volunteer,
  • have stayed in touch,
  • and all those who have risked their own and their families’ health, and have sacrificed time with their families in order to make sure we have what we need.

What and who will you no longer take for granted?

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