The number one truth of 2020 - for all its complications, shelter-in-places, personal struggles for me, national struggles for America (where I live), global pandemic struggles for the world, and general dumpster fire qualities - that I've managed to drag out of it thus far (and there's two weeks left so I reserve the right to change my mind) is that love is a verb that we can continue doing even under increasingly challenging circumstances.
Our world's bubbles have shrunk to households or very small pods? Okay, we figure out calls and digital media to get ourselves through and around these facts so that long distance partners we'd hoped to see most weeks of the summer but now could see once a month, maybe, or less, (tests negative and the creek don't rise) still feel cared for, are still loved. We all learned new ways to love - to have short distance relationships like they were long distance for a year, and that maybe that made them a little more brittle but it didn't break them.
We love with words, with looks, with mailing or dropping off care packages, with this communication, with the spread out plans that many of my friends had to make with their partners. Love is an act, it's a moving, living thing, and this year has shown the flexibility many of us have in managing to love those in our lives even when we are under immense stress and figuring out what love we need ourselves.
We figured out who in our lives had 'safety' as a love language and no reason to know that prior because they hadn't felt truly endangered prior and involved them in making safety plans for pods; we worked together to balance everyone's boundaries and to hold our own firm. (Some of us may have looked forward to weeks our therapists told us we did a good job holding our own boundaries - I really hope all the therapists had good therapists, they needed them this year.) But, essentially, we figured out what was loving by trial and error this year, because the speed of information and government action didn't keep up with each other, so individuals had to make their choices. Whatever that meant to you and yours, I hope you are healthy and make good choices this holiday season so you're with us for them next year.
My world is smaller than it was when I started this blog and I look forward to the general public being vaccinated so I can be comfortable seeing my friends, maybe dating? and making it big again. Until then, I'm glad for the love and understanding of all the people I've seen on Zoom this year instead of in person; for my partner carrying my emotional load mostly over the phone when both of us have in the past claimed to hate phone calls, and for all the medical workers who are "just doing their jobs" but are showing an immense number of ill people love and compassion that the world would do well to imitate.
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