Waking up under this dark cloud and sleepwalking through another day. Looking longingly for a time machine to transport us to next year already. Even the aliens are riding past Earth, locking their doors. You already checked the Forbes list of the richest people in America, and you’re still not on it. So now what?

New daily routine and customs? You love your usual routine, until you get bored, that is. Then you love stimulation, until you’re overwhelmed, that is. Then you love routine. And so it goes. Still washing your hands for another half an hour and running at least six feet away from other humans. Doesn’t exactly put a razzle-dazzle in your day, now, does it?

Let’s be honest, sweet friends. Not everyone is savoring all those simple pleasures with loved ones, day in day out, month in month out. Movie theatres, concert halls, and even museums are as impenetrable and impermeable as crime scenes. Apartments are small, kids are cranky, and teens are gloomy, grumpy and out of sorts. Who can blame them? The truth is that it was infinitely more fun when good times were reserved for weekends or vacations. Not everyone feels like they are in a Norman Rockwell painting right now. After all, who is in the mood to create special “moments” and memories every dang day?

I’ll bet your family life and friendships have been reshaped by the “Rona” virus, too. How can we get into the holiday spirit right about now? Holidays used to bring people together. One of the secrets to having a closely knit family and deep friendships is having a repertoire of fun ceremonies and rituals. They actually boost happiness, strengthen friendship bonds, and offer us a sense of identity and even security. Perhaps you can do them every Friday night, or when the new Moon appears. What’s that? You say you don’t have any? Why not start?

No need to go big, sweet friends. Think back on your childhood. It’s those little things that stand out: those pancakes dripping in maple syrup every Sunday morning. Speaking of which, the best pancake topping is: more pancakes. How about your grandma’s old-fashioned honey cake? Mmmmm. G’head, have some cake; it’s somebody’s birthday somewhere. Remember that anticipation can be as thrilling as the activity itself. Think about when you plan a vacation. “How many more days till we…?”

Did you ever have a secret handshake with a friend? I did. You can tell how long people have been friends by how elaborate their secret handshake is. Heh. Or what about secret “I love you” signs? Feel free to steal one. Make an “X” with your fingers and then an “O” to send hugs and kisses to your little ones when they are off to camp, or even college. At your next family meal or friendship get-together, give out cards and have everyone write something they like about each individual. Then take turns reading to the special person aloud. Warm fuzzies are guaranteed to flow.

Need some cozy time? Have the fam’ or friends collect all the pillows and stuffed animals in the house. Pile them all around and dive in for a movie night or just to chat. Popcorn mandatory. Popcorn’s always great, until you eat a kernel that wasn’t fully popped, of course. And just remember: The difference between your house smelling like delicious popcorn, or burnt mishmash – is around 25 seconds. We all know that true self-control is waiting till the movie starts to eat your popcorn. The movie trailers are over and so is your stash. I can relate.

Think about the graduating year of 2020. Our wonderful and one and only kids missed nearly all the typical year-end traditions. Customs glue friendships together. You don’t know what to do during these trying times? Have everyone share some good news at the dinner table. Cheer each other on for one of your accomplishments this past week. Get creative. Have a friendly baking competition before the holidays. Venture outside at sunrise or sunset; lift your hands to the Heavens and thank the Lord for all you have. Pray for all those fighting battles, inner and outer. Reflect on the past and, by all means, look forward to the future.

Can’t get dressed up and go to a religious service? Some of our hopes and dreams are delayed. But as we waste our breath complaining about life, someone out there may be breathing their last breath. Bear in mind, sweet friends, that the message of a holiday is valid no matter how you celebrate it.

 

Pass on a text, DM, email, SMS, or tweet of Hope, please. And tweet like nobody’s following. You know what they say: If you got five minutes to kill, Twitter is a great way to fill 35 minutes. By the way, if you text someone in the same room as you, do you also stare at him until he gets it?

Many of us know that feeling of comfort with the predictable and familiar. We may also have fond memories of bonding and connecting to our loved ones and friends. Ceremonies and customs are what give us stability, especially when things are so utterly unpredictable. Make new traditions. Use whatever gifts you have, my friends. It was once said: “The woods would be very silent if no birds sang, except those that sang best.”


Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.

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