2020 Day-By-Day

Growing Older

I turn 33 next week and I’m honestly not looking forward to it. It’s not the turning-one-year-older aspect; rather it is more about how the world feels right now and how tumultuous the last few months have been for me.

I’ve had a really difficult time adjusting to this new normal. I don’t particularly care for working from home, plus my job requires mostly on-site work. It’s been hard not to be in the building I have come to view as my second home and I miss my coworkers and the happy chaos of the preschool. As a result, I feel very disconnected from my Jewish community.

Still, I’ve been attending services online every Friday and try to participate in programs and activities. I’ve been doing a lot of crafting and cooking/experimenting. I’ve gotten back to journaling and scrapbooking regularly. I try very hard to remind myself of the good things in the world and my life when I feel like crying.

Since sixth grade, I haven’t really had any birthday celebrations. I tried to organize activities with friends when I was in college, but somehow the plans always fell through. This birthday will be lonelier than most, since I won’t be at work and I won’t be able to see any of my friends in person. I am grateful for another year of life and I am looking forward to making some exciting plans whenever it’s safe to do so. Honestly, I just keep telling myself that this part of my life will be ripe for some confessional essays later.

I’ll keep going, taking deep breaths, and living life. That’s all I can do right now.

I’m OK during the day, but at night I get scared,

Which makes it hard to breathe, which is a symptom

Of the pandemic, which is what scares me.

Well played, anxiety, my old friend. You’ve always

Warned me something like this might happen.

You’re a gift from my ancestors who survived plagues,

And worse. They wove you into my DNA to warn me,

So that I too might survive. Now that it’s happening,

Anxiety, I don’t need you any more. I need

The ones who gave you to me. Hear me, ancestors

Who lived through danger times: I’m ready for you now.

All these years I’ve carried your worries in my bones.

Now I need your love, your thousand-year view.

Tell me it’s going to be OK. Remind me you made it

Through, and we will too. Teach me to breathe.

Alicia Jo Rabins, “On Breathing”

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