The “On This Day” and archive features on social media are such interesting things- moreso in this ongoing age of COVID-19 and especially during the Summer. Although plenty of things I’d posted upwards to 10+ years ago are cringe-inducing- it’s bittersweet to look back on recent Summers before forced quarantines, social distancing and mandated masks (side note: I hope you’re all wearing yours!)
For example, a couple of years ago I was visiting the Pioneer Valley- months before I had been convinced to move here- to attend local theater productions. And then, last Summer- I was celebrating a month of living in my new apartment with dinner and drinks at one of my favorite restaurants in Northampton. The photos taken during those times show me happy, smiling and carefree- truly optimistic for the future and in love with someone who no longer lives here.
Of course, those reminders of happier times can also be painful given we’re not allowed to be less than six feet apart from one another these days and because of how absolutely wretched 2020 has been for myself and so many other people so far. I long to hug my friends and loved ones again, to see live music/theater again, to go to a restaurant or a bar and feel safe sitting down to enjoy a meal or a cocktail again- but we’re still a long way from that point.
Recent weeks have admittedly been hard on me- made worse with the ongoing pandemic and upcoming travel concerns (I’m visiting the West Coast in a couple of weeks. The trip, originally planned for the Fall- was compromised when it was estimated that COVID-19 numbers were going to get worse that time of year. It then became a “now or never” situation.) I had written how, back in June- one of my longest, dearest friendships had dissolved- and while the line of communication was briefly reopened- things haven’t improved much, if at all. I’m still devastated by it- and still struggling to work through it. Being at home all day on most days doesn’t help with the grieving process- which feels like it’s been ongoing since February, really.
And of course, those pesky reminders on social media of past times that I, and others, miss so much makes the heartache all the more real and painful. I’ve been trying to distract myself with weekly outings to unusual locations that won’t remind me of the things/people/places I’ve lost in recent months and that I know won’t be packed with strangers so I can stay safe while still getting some fresh air and freedom.
There’s only so much Netflix I can watch, after all.
I’m sure I’ve mentioned in the past how Atlas Obscura has become an unusual and unexpected lifesaver- providing me with all sorts of bizarre roadside oddities, abandoned and creepy places to stop and see. I’ve recently started adding things in Nevada and California to my list of places to check out since I’ll be out that way for a few days- which gives me something to look forward to when I honestly haven’t had much in recent days.
And of course, preparing posts for “Coffee & Chiffon” has been a tremendous help in breaking up the every day routine of work, laundry, cleaning, errands, etc. Although content can be hard to come by these days- sticking to a posting schedule and brainstorming ideas has been cathartic for me. As July winds down- I’ve got a few things planned for next week- which means I get to savor the sunshine while I’m out taking pictures over the weekend.
But checking in every once in a while and writing honestly about my emotions and my mental health helps, too. Especially when I know we’re all struggling through this in our own ways. I’s a nice reminder to know I’m not the only one who occasionally feels overwhelmed or lost in the midst of it all.
So consider this my check-in. I’m still here. I’m still hanging in there to the best of my ability- and I hope you all are, too. July is almost over- which means we made it through another month.
And that’s worth celebrating. Even if it’s just for a second.