The pandemic has reminded us we never know what the future holds. But maybe that's OK.
Dear Future Me,
I don’t know what the world looks like by the time this column prints. Are we still blowing air kisses to elderly loved ones through glass windows? Has wearing masks to the grocery become an indefinite way of life? Are we preparing to home school our kids this fall? Or are we headed to beaches to enjoy those summer vacations we started paying for last October?
It’s funny, really, how I ever thought I knew what lay ahead. How we all thought we knew. Because we knew better, didn’t we?
Yet there we were, planning, planning, planning. Four months out. Six months out. Two years out. Like we were in control.
Like we knew.
Here is what I know for sure right now—and what I hope I remember once we all forget.
I know that slowing down feels good. Like I can breathe again. Like I’m not in a full sprint from the moment I wake up until the moment my head hits the pillow at night.
I know that I don’t miss wasting time blowing out my hair daily. And that I’m really glad my hair is long enough to fit in a ponytail at the moment.
I know that the wildly ambitious full-day home school schedule we developed and stuck to those first two weeks worked brilliantly for those first two weeks. I also know it’s OK that I dropped it week three in favor of self-preservation. And that I’m really glad I gave in and let my 10-year-old get Xbox Live and a headset.
I know that I enjoy cooking. While drinking wine. And that I should make space to do it more often.
I know that I like having time for unexpected conversations with my neighbors. (I also know that while they’re fine from 6 feet away, it’d be a lot more fun if we could do it over food and drink, too. Mental note: We should resurrect the Halloween block party we used to host.)
I know that a good internet connection is gold.
I know that I’ve only ever needed half the amount of toilet paper I initially pull.
I know we’re going to kill the game of Sequence forever at some point real soon (RIP, Yahtzee), but right now, playing five games a night is a blast.
I know that eating on the patio with our café lights twinkling and a blanket on my lap is bliss.
I know that I like to read books. In print. With my kiddo. Especially before bed.
I know that I am grateful. For my husband, who is a rock star co-teacher, master dishwasher and binger of A Million Little Things despite the fact he’d rather poke his eyes out. For my son, who has kept me laughing, has only accidentally photobombed one Zoom call and hasn’t once complained about the two trips we’ve canceled during this stretch (or the fact that I still carry the ones in math). For our health. For ample space and abundant food. For the teenage boy still bagging my groceries, the postal carrier still delivering our mail and the garbage team still clearing our trash. For business owner friends giving to the greater good. For reporters finding truth and connecting us with stories. For people who check in. For nurses who are holding strangers’ hands so that when Covid-19 patients die away from family, they do not die alone. For the way the lilac bushes smell on our nightly walks.
I know that I feel lots of things, sometimes all at once—annoyance, hilarity, anger, inspiration, anxiety, joy.
And I know that now is all we’re guaranteed, that the light outshines the dark, and that love still reigns supreme. (Well, love and the lemon blueberry cake with cream cheese frosting from Brown Bag Deli.)
I don’t know what the world looks like later this summer. When the new school year starts. Or even tomorrow.
But I also know that that’s OK. Because we never knew anyway. Now, we can just stop pretending we ever did.
Love yourself. Love your people. Love the now.
Kristy Eckert is a Powell mom and founder of Kristy Eckert Communications.