A Lake Houston Area Magazine

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By Tiara Guard Marenco

From I Have To... To I Can't Wait To

by Tiara Guard Marenco

Have we just stepped out of a time machine? $25 to fill up my car, kids playing outside again, families eating at home, only going to town when you actually need to and people praying to God again. This might not be that bad... it might just be a blessing.

Emergencies may not be the moments when bad things get worse, or when people naturally become more scared, suspicious and egocentric. Maybe disasters actually open up human stockpiles of spontaneity, unity and determination. Maybe they open pockets of joy, even in the midst of fear and pain. Not saying that we should celebrate disasters or pandemics, but maybe we should realize that they force us into changes, some that may be good for us.

Take your thoughts back a few weeks and imagine someone telling you that, within a month, schools will be closed. Almost all public gatherings will be canceled. Hundreds of millions of people around the world will be out of work. Governments will be developing the largest economic stimulus packages in history. Landlords will not be collecting rent. Banks will cease to collect mortgage payments. Everyone 10 and older will be wearing a mask to leave the comfort of their homes. Would you have believed it?

Keeping a safe distance has been absolutely necessary for public safety during COVID-19, but it's OK to feel nostalgic for life's little moments that have temporarily fallen by the wayside. It is absolutely normal to miss all the things we had going on in our lives.

Whether it's going for a cup of coffee, taking a stroll and sparking up conversations with a friendly dog owner while on the green belt or enjoying a meal with friends, even mundane moments of once daily routines feel like a luxury people are eager to have back.

Humans thrive on routine. Things like taking the same route to work or seeing the same people at our weekly Zumba class provide us with a sense of comfort. It helps us feel in control. Since the days, weeks and months ahead are still uncertain, we are definitely feeling like we are out of control. Daily or frequent rituals like driving to your Mom's house and giving her a hug, getting your nails done or your hair cut, making an appointment to get your teeth cleaned or making reservations at your favorite restaurant are missed. As everyone resorts to cooking at home or ordering takeout, the idea of sitting down for a meal, prepared by chefs in a professional kitchen sounds like a dream. Meeting up for coffee or drinks with your buds sounds like a vacation. Believe me, your local waitresses, baristas, bartenders and hairdressers miss you as much as we miss them.

While people have gotten creative with virtual happy hours and hangouts, we can all add 'raising a glass to our health' to those activities we want to resume in person. While some people have jokingly seemed shocked by the notion that they miss working out, many have had an epiphany that the absence of physical activities really does make the heart grow fonder. Our local YMCA has been super generous making their workout routines on virtual platforms online free for all to use, but performing aerobics in your living room doesn't exactly hit the same levels of intensity as a high-octane, fast-paced class with your friends.

In what has felt like an eternal Sunday for some folks (I have a hard time remembering what day it is), there are millions of previously employed Americans who have lost jobs across a multitude of different industries that have seen a sharp decline in operations due to coronavirus.

This pandemic has divided us into two classes, essential and non-essential. For those Americans who are classified as non-essential and who are now unemployed, their wish is to go back to work. Those non-essentials that are confined to work at home wish to be free of those four walls. Be it in a busy commercial kitchen, at a desk next to their co-workers or in a local shop assisting customers, their desire is to return to their regular routine. Those Americans that are fortunate enough to still be employed and are considered essential just wish they could have a day off.

Teachers and students alike are missing the classroom. Add to that a few thousand parents, too, who are having to adjust to the double duty of working and teaching from home.

We even miss grocery shopping. Not the more recent panic buying in bulk or rows upon rows of empty shelves, but seeing people calmly pick up all the products they need, when they need it and getting into a normal checkout line.

Milestones have been missed - weddings cancelled, funerals forgotten, graduation ceremonies and proms postponed indefinitely, family reunions postponed, vacations terminated and other daily interactions for people to cherish that were supposed to happen and didn't.

Using Zoom, Go To Meeting, FaceTime, Skype and Drive-By's to create hangouts, workouts, happy hours and birthday parties are all great options, but they are merely replacements for the real person-to-person contact we all long for.

The activities we used to HAVE to do are now the things we CAN't WAIT to do.

The Forest Image has been a staple in the greater Lake Houston area for over a quarter century. We love the community and appreciate your feedback in our content. Please email us with your comments.

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