How Do You Measure a Year in a Life, Especially This Year?

My three young adult sons were coming home to join us on a family vacation. I was gleeful; this trip was long overdue and much anticipated. We were set to fly out on Sunday March 15, 2020. 

Was that only one year ago? Has it already been a year? 

As the song in the musical Rent asks, “How do you measure a year in a life? How do you measure? Measure a year?” 

Refocusing that question for our times, these times…

How do you measure a year in a pandemic?

It is, after all, the same five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes. In some ways we measured this year and those minutes like any other, in daybreaks and sunsets and cups of coffee but also…

In closeness

In distance,

In sorrow,

In terror.

In family dinners (100 eaten together-a record number),

In sourdough starters,

In puzzles,

In TV series,

In drive-by birthdays.

In empty arms and aching loneliness,

In frustrated tears,

In shattered dreams,

In missed milestones.

In heavy decisions,

In masks, and social distancing,

In long walks,

In endless conversations,

In mind-numbing exhaustion,

In Zoom working and learning.

In overwhelmed hospitals, 

In bell-ringing and pot-clanging for heroic healthcare workers,

In vaccines,

In treatments, 

In hope.

But, always and most especially…in love

In love,

In connection,

In friendship,

In humanity.

In the small kindnesses from strangers that buoyed us.

In the renewed friendships with those long lost to us in the regular busyness of ordinary life.

In the love that meant so much more this year when everything else was stripped away. 

That’s how I will measure this year, the only way I can, the only way that makes any sense…in love. 

More to Read:

These Days are Exhausting Especially for Us Parents

The Kids Are Not All Okay; Maybe It’s Time to Let Them Grieve

About Helene Wingens

Helene Wingens has always been passionate about painting pictures with words. She graduated from Brandeis University with a degree in psychology and three years later from Boston University School of Law with a Juris Doctor. In a year long clerkship for an appellate judge Helene honed her writing skills by drafting weekly appellate memoranda. She practiced law until she practically perfected it and after taking a brief twenty year hiatus to raise her three children she began writing a personal blog Her essays have been published in: Scary Mommy, Kveller, The Forward, and Grown and Flown where she is Managing Editor. You can visit Helene's website here

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