About 14 years ago I landed in the hospital for a prolonged and uncomfortable stay after a simple surgery went awry and needed to be fixed. Nights were long and lonely, but as they dragged on I distinctly remember in my medicated fog – perhaps inspired by the perennially lovable and positive Maria in The Sound of Music – allocating time to thinking about the things I missed the most. My most favorite things.
Like most people in these situations I made promises to my unwell self that I would appreciate these things all the more once I was back to my well self. What I regret NOT doing was writing these things down so I could reference them at a later date to ensure I was keeping this promise to appreciate everything that I so much very missed (these are a few of my favorite things…). Well here’s my (and maybe your) opportunity!
The exercise of taking time out of our day to acknowledge and RECORD what we miss during these strange times is not an exercise in self-pity, but an exercise of life appreciation. It is a note to your future self to try to remember the things you missed during this bizarre and scary time in our lives. When we go back to our “new normal” – which we will – life has a very healthy way of spiraling you right back into your routine. Having a physical record of the things you miss the most might help eek out just a bit more time of not taking those things for granted.
Erroneously I keep using the word things (I blame Oscar Hammerstein, but I concur that “These are a few of my favorite experiences” would not have worked). I don’t miss things. I can’t think of a single “thing” that I miss. This is what I do miss:
- I miss my simple day to day experiences.
- I miss saying hello in the elevator to folks in the morning, being stuffed in there and hoping certain neighbors might make an appearance.
- I miss random chats with my neighbor across the hall and setting up seasonal displays for her toddler twins to lure them over to my side of the hall.
- I miss petting dogs of all kinds before 10am.
- I miss random chats with my friends on sidewalks, during exercise class (sorry Tracey and Amy!), on Walk and Talks, and at Fairway (a very social place as it turns out).
- I miss my daily head tilts and smile trades with a whole cast of characters in my neighborhood who’s faces I know well, but names I do not.
- Of course, I miss gathering in the evening for a Broadway show and all that entails. And I really miss the pre-show dinner parties.
I could go on. And on. But you get the idea! Write down the list of your favorite things somewhere special. Somewhere that has permanence. Somewhere you will be able to access easily in the future once this scary virus is in our rearview window.
Take the time to acknowledge what you miss. Take some deep breaths and then get on with your day. It is a cathartic exercise in the moment and a highly useful one for a future date. You and your most favorite experiences/things will meet again.
Thematic side note: My friend Sarah K. brought me to hear the Andre Bishop Creative Director of Theater of Lincoln Center speak to a group this past January (and/or a lifetime ago). His dream musical he wants to bring to the Lincoln Center stage? The Sound of Music. How happy I would be to gather a group for that…! Impossibly happy.
Stay well. Stay connected.