When scrolling endlessly through your feed–spending more screen time then you would ever care to admit–it is impossible not to compare your quarantine to their quarantine. Suddenly, it seems as though we have all the time in the world to create art, write that script, de-clutter our spaces–while creating delightful instagram posts to document it all, of course. Everyone else seems to be tapping into fresh reservoirs of inspiration, creativity, fitness and bread-baking while confined at home. Anything less is reason to lament what feels like a missed opportunity.
If you feel overwhelmed and stressed out from it all, that’s because it is. There are, however, little things to boost your mood and brighten someone’s day in a way that doesn’t require much more than a pen and paper. I find that handwriting a letter allows me to really look inward. It calls for deeper thought and effort. It allows me to take a much needed breath to thoughtfully and deliberately profess my love, admiration and appreciation towards others. It lifts the spirits of someone I care about and reminds me how my relationships keep me going. And during such an uncertain and devastating time for so many, that small expression is definitely a task worth more than “accomplishing” anything. It reminds us that love, hope and positivity can be far more impactful and infectious than any virus. Here are examples of 3 things you have been meaning to tell your loved ones and the holiday season is the perfect time.
I’m glad that this time has allowed you to spend some quality time at home. The garden looks great. I see mom took up leatherwork and she looks so happy doing it. While the house seems a little smaller when the 4 of us are in it, I have loved this time where I could glimpse at you and mom in the context of your own worlds—free from long commutes, free from stuffy offices, in the spaces and little hobbies that you have forged for yourselves. You both look a little freer. Especially you, dad. I have loved taking these rare opportunities to spend quality time, letting you in and sharing my work with you. To gather your wisdom, gain ounces of your perspective. I loved getting to know the people behind you and mom’s cool, hands off, “letting the kids scrape their knees and handle bullies on their own” approach to parenting, even if I didn’t always understand it. At 25, I am immensely grateful to have had your support while also given the space to grow, make mistakes and pave my own way. I watched you and mom age gracefully. You both still look like glamorous, suave movie stars in your matching Hello Kitty pajama pants and Uniqlo house slippers. Of course, more than ever I realize that you both are the MVP’s of my life. Taking the time this holiday season to write you a letter reminds me all that we’re truly in this thing together. It also reminds me that I still need to buy your Christmas present.
Hi old friend,
It has been a while, hasn’t it?
How is your family doing? How have you been doing? I’ve been thinking of you. I know that living through something like a global pandemic is incredibly difficult. But to me at least, it seems to me like one of those situations where the only way out is through. More than ever, I am reminded that getting through tough times together is far easier than alone. I can’t remember the last time I went out in public without a mask. But I can easily remember that amazing night we had together. We got all dressed to the nine and sat in that fancy Italian restaurant that clearly neither of us could afford and laughed for 3 hours over 1 appetizer and drinks? Do you remember? I hold that, and so many other memories of us, so close and so dear, especially now when moments like that seem few and far between. I remember that even in some of my darkest moments you have shown up for me with equal parts grace, humor and compassion. I’m sorry I’ve been distant. Quarantine has been a challenge for me, as I am sure it has been for so many others. Sometimes my goal for that day is simply to take a shower and get to bed at a reasonable hour. But then I’m reminded of you and I’ve been finding comfort in loving memories, strength in the support and hope in a new day.
Love you. Chat soon.
Hello sweetheart (my quarenting!),
Thank you for surviving quarantine with me.
We almost made it to the end of 2020! Even when it seemed like the world was in total standstill these past months, I’ve watched you grow immensely and pour yourself into the things you care about, including our relationship. And through it all, I’ve admired and appreciated you so much. Your ambition. Your kindness. Your kick-back ways. In the presence of your certainty–that you can make a lasting impact in the world–I can't help but feel a little lost in comparison. And while I feel like I’ve been a stressed out, overwhelmed, tightly wound ball of nerves, your gentle presence and steadfast persistence has always reminded me to grab your hand a little tighter when the road ahead feels wobbly. You have awakened me to the idea that I want more joy and encouraged me to find more meaning in my life. That I can’t continue to live with my own complacency. When all of this is over, I wonder if I can find a path that allows me to engage my mind and challenges me to grow, while still leaving me enough time to do volunteer work, appreciate picnics at Golden Gate Park or raise a dog with you. Nothing is impossible, but nothing looks simple. I just hope you are by my side as we continue to figure this thing called love out together. I just hope I will always be your ham.
Happy Holidays, my love.