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Well, I’m glad that’s over.
It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m at Club Couch with Netflix as my date. This, of course, is not what I would have pictured last January. It isn’t what anyone would have pictured. Although I’m alone, I know that I’m not alone. There are so many like me who are spending the holidays away from family and friends.
I hear the sound of fireworks at midnight. A new year has officially begun and for the first time in what seems like ages, a smile creeps across my face. I know there is a long way to go and perhaps the darkest days are ahead before we return to normal, but I can’t help but feel a tiny spark of optimism.
Here are the things I’m looking forward to in the future:
Hugs: Who this past year has needed a good hug? A deep bear hug that lasts for a long, long while. I know I have. Many times.
Visits from family/Visits to family: We’ve all been apart for far too long. However, the only way we can be sure that we’ll see each other again for years to come is to be apart now. It’s lonely and terrible. The day we’re all together again will be joyous, though. Absolutely joyous.
Visits from friends/Visits to friends: Friends are the family you choose. I miss all of mine. When we finally get together in a group, it will be loud. It will be raucous. You’ll want to join in. Come on over, there will be room in the group for everyone.
Holidays: I’d like my old holidays back, please. Any holiday. I’ll celebrate Arbor Day if it means I can hoist a cold one with family and friends without worrying about disease.
Indoor activities in groups: This includes dining in restaurants, attending house parties, and bellying up to bars. I can’t believe I ever refused an invitation. It was rare, but it happened. Now I’d love nothing more than to settle in at some indoor cozy spot with friends. I used to do that all the time. I can’t wait to do so again.
Traveling: I miss hopping in my car or on a plane and going far away. I’m not sure where my first destination will be, but there are so many places I’d like to see and so many places I miss going to. I love Connecticut, but I can’t wait to cut loose from its borders. I’ll feel like an animal breaking free from a cage. If you see a woman in a car with Connecticut plates in another state and she’s howling as she’s driving, don’t worry. It’s just me.
Live music and theater: Man, do I miss this.
Movie nights with friends: Sometimes we watch good movies, sometimes we watch spectacularly awful ones. Either way, it’s great.
Fairs: I love a fair. There were no fairs this year. No agricultural fairs, crafts fairs, or Christmas fairs. I can’t wait to gorge on fair food, buy handmade items, look at the animals, see the acts. I’ll skip the rides, though. After the pandemic, I may not get ill from the virus, but I’ll still get ill from anything that spins.
Parades: Who doesn’t love a parade? I have a friend in particular that loves them as much as I do. We sit on the curb long after the parade is over and chat. Talking on the phone is nice, but it’s just not as good as a post-parade curb-sit chat.
Two-way aisles in the supermarket: This one isn’t a big deal, but it will be nice to go down an aisle, any aisle, in the direction I need to go. Also, I won’t be able to screw things up by going the wrong way.
There is so much to look forward to this year. So for now I’ll hunker down and set my brain to full speed ahead, steering my thoughts like one steers a boat into large waves during a storm. Better days are ahead.
Juliana Gribbins is a writer who believes that absurdity is the spice of life. Her book Date Expectations is winner of the 2017 Independent Press Awards, Humor Category and winner of the 2016 IPPY silver medal for humor. Write to her at email@example.com. Read more of her columns at www.zip06.com/shorelineliving.
Juliana Gribbins is the Columnist for Zip06. Email Juliana at .