“I’ve given up,” she says.
“Oh?” I reply.
“I’m going to finally buy some clothes that actually fit me,” she replies. “Not an entire wardrobe, not enough that I’m encouraged to stay at this size. But enough so I can actually feel like I look nice when I go out.”
“I don’t know if that’s giving up,” I say, “so much as it’s being realistic about the situation. It can take time to change size, even if you have a sound strategy and you’re adhering to it well.”
She nods. “It reminded me of something you say sometimes.”
“That you can still enjoy life when things aren’t perfect. That just because you aren’t where you want to be, it doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to be happy,” she says.
I smile. I don’t remember saying that, but it sounds like something I would say. “Well,” I say, “I’m not sure I’m always perfect at that either, but…”
She laughs. “You don’t let it ruin your day.”
It’s my turn to laugh. “Exactly. That.”
We trade stories of people we know who seem to fall into this trip repeatedly even in non-pandemic times, which throws another layer on top of everything — because most responsible people have been thrown into some degree of stasis due to the health risks (to themselves and others).
That’s been some of the big work over the past year: How does a person enjoy their life while being responsible during a global pandemic?
It’s taken some creativity, for sure. And not all of us have done the best job. Some people didn’t have very much fun at all. Others had tons of fun — but recklessly, at the expense of others.
And as we enter a new phase where vaccines are starting to trickle out and yet the contagious variants are still bopping around town blowing any incipient hopes the raspberry (while researchers figure out exactly what their story is), things are definitely changing.
No, it’s not a presto-change-o fingersnap “and everything went instantly back to normal.” (Although to be honest, as an anxious person I don’t think I’d particularly like that. An abrupt 180 would give me some serious emotional whiplash.)
The new normal will still probably be kinda weird for a while. Everything won’t be perfect. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your life in the weird “new normal.”
Yes, there are times when this means you have to expand your view of what “enjoying life” means. You might have to dig deep and discover new things about yourself, new ways that you can thrive in strange times.
Look on the bright side: It’ll be an interesting memory 5, 10, or even 20 years from now. A cool story to tell.