We all deserve a rainbow after the rain
I’ve been dreaming about this moment.
And it has finally, finally, finally arrived. I have been waiting to finally wrap my hands around this warm bringer of joy for longer than expectant parents wait for birth after a pregnancy confirmation.
Maybe I should name the cup of tea in front of me? Introduce it to my parents? My friends?
“Does this look like a ‘Joe’ to you? Or a ‘Mary’? Perhaps we should do away with all the gendered language — it is 2021, after all — and instead opt for a gender-neutral name, like ‘Rain’? Or ‘Sunshine’ for how it makes me feel? Maybe ‘Rainbow’?”
Before you judge me or my mental state, let’s remember that it’s been a long… decade. Mid-March 2020 was the last time I went to a coffee shop. So the calendar says it’s been over a year.
The calendar lies. We all know it’s been closer to a decade.
Which is why I’m trying to savor this moment. Unless something very unexpected happens, I will never, ever, ever feel this way about a mere cup of tea again.
A hopefully compassionate disclaimer
In writing about this, please know that I don’t want to make anyone feel worse or pretend I’m having some “Instagram-perfect” moment. Since this pandemic started, we’ve been collectively through hell and back. Or maybe we’re still in hell and just have gotten used to the heat.
Getting back to some version of “normalcy” isn’t straightforward. It can feel bittersweet. It’s bittersweet for me because this week started with me losing someone I care about (not for Covid-related reasons). Given the heartbreak, it’s strange that today marks the start of my full immunity.
This Monday, my unexpected loss made me feel like I got surrounded by a fresh set of dark clouds. Today, the start of my full immunity makes me feel like the other dark clouds that have been hanging around for over a year are finally parting. My week started with grief and ended with relief… a roller coaster of emotions that’s probably pretty common for the times we live in.
If you’re suffering (as so many people still are), I’m sending my love and compassion. I’m hoping that your clouds will part, too, and as soon as possible.
Being in the situation I am in is a privilege and it’s important to acknowledge that. Unlike me, many people haven’t been able to avoid crowded places for the last year. As JJ Charlesworth so accurately put it on Twitter:
“There was never any lockdown. There was just middle-class people hiding while working-class people brought them things.”
And that’s not even the full extent of it. Because I live in the US, I got vaccinated earlier than Angela Merkel, the leader of my home country who also happens to be many decades older than me! That’s… weird. And because of how unfair the global distribution of vaccines is, I know that most people in the world will have to wait much, much longer until they have full immunity.
But just because full immunity might be far away doesn’t mean it’s not coming. What I want to share is what you have to look forward to when you can return to some version of “normalcy,” such as having your first hug with a friend.
What to look forward to
Today feels like my birthday (if I liked having birthdays), Christmas when I was a child, and that glorious day Germany won the Soccer World Cup all wrapped in one. It’s the dawning of a new day. The release from prison. The…
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating. But I don’t think so. I think this is what it feels like to fully enjoy the moment. This is what happens after a hedonic reset, when the things we’ve been taken for granted have been taken away… and then we get them back.
In other words, this is a special moment. And I should enjoy the hell out of it! I shouldn’t feel weird about wanting to write love poems for a cup of tea or having a “When Harry Met Sally” restaurant moment in a coffee shop...
(With apologies to my husband for finding out about my epic love affair with the Tea-tanic this way. This is not… okay, this is exactly what it looks like!)
The chance in front of us
There was a time in human history when a cup of tea — or a pinch of salt or unusual spices — would have been a highly valued commodity. Something special to savor.
And I finally get to have the experience of what that might have been like. For my family members who grew up shortly after World War 2 in a “country” that was in shambles (or whatever we what to call the moral and physical mess that was post-war Germany), a can of pineapple was a special treat. Something you’d only get once in a while
Prior to 2020, I’ve never really lacked for anything.
Turns out, I’ve missed out by not missing out. Absence does make the heart grow fonder and rarity makes things more special. In not lacking for anything, I’ve lacked for so much.
Things that should be special have become dull. We take our good fortune for granted. But no more. I’m going to be gushing about this cup of tea to everyone who wants to listen (and those who don’t) like a schoolgirl with a crush.
Whenever you get to do something that you love again for the first time, I hope you get to have the same experience.
I hope you get to savor the moment.
We all deserve a rainbow after all the rain. And now, please excuse me while I introduce “Rainbow” to my friends and family.
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