How to party like it’s your birthday—while sheltering in place.
It’s my birthday this week, but being celebratory is hardly the mood for 2020. I’m not a big “new year, new me” person, but I am a goal-oriented person. Last year, my goals included trying to read one book a month, build stronger relationships with the people I love, hike in nature at least once a week and grow as a journalist.
But those goals, at first glance, had to take a back seat. First came the pandemic, then came the recession, then the wildfires and of course the never-ending stream of bad news. All I thought I could do for several months was sit in my uniform of sweat pants and watch the world I once saw filled with opportunities dissolve.
I don’t know how it happened, but six-plus months into the pandemic, and I’m reassessing what self-growth looks like and how it’s supposed to happen.
A big part of it is looking beyond myself and expanding my own perspective. I don’t think of myself as an inherently selfish person, but when one prioritizes oneself, it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that change begins with yourself. Break your bad habits and you’ll be a better person for others, the thinking goes. You have control over yourself and your own decisions, etc. But change can also happen by observing others.
I think it’s seeing resilience in other people that has made the biggest impact on me as this year comes to an end. Hearing stories of people standing in line for hours just to vote in an election that will shape the next four years (and beyond) of their lives. Receiving letters and press releases from nonprofits declaring they are going to keep doing what they do despite massive financial hits and required adaptations due to Covid-19.
Stories of resilience and of stepping up help me realize that apathy is the easy answer, but not the better answer. That also comes to finding ways to pause and celebrate, even the little things, in a time of chaos—something that requires adapting in a small but meaningful way. It means savoring time, even if it’s virtual or socially distant, with my friends and family—even though we can’t hug. It means retiring the sweatpants for a day, blowing out candles, and eating a slice of cake—because there is room for happiness and celebration in 2020.
This week’s To-Do List features some ideas for celebrating, even while sheltering in place.
-Marielle Argueza, staff writer, firstname.lastname@example.org
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