“Remind me, again and again, to never take for granted:
A 5:30 a.m. alarm clock going off on my phone. As we are learning, sometimes too much time isn’t always the best of times. Back then, I craved more time. Now, I crave all the things that didn’t give me much time.
A morning rush, scrambling to find what matches so I still have time to pick up my morning coffee or Diet Coke before rush hour hits without worrying about sanitizing the cup before I drink it.
The kind customer service at the drive-thru and the rude customer service at the drive-thru in a world where APP customer service is becoming my new normal. Sometimes, you just want a person. Nice or rude. A person would be nice. A person without six feet in between. A person without a glass window barrier. A person without the fear that comes with a person. Just a plain person.
A classroom cluttered with desks of kids who try, kids who don’t want to try, kids who have attitudes, and kids who always respect you. A roster that exceeds ten, exceeds twenty. Not having enough room because we squeezed them all in. The more the merrier was what we did and how we made it work.
Not having time to do my make-up at home and doing it in my car as I wait in our school parking lot for work to start. The security of time is all I need right now. Time for all those little things I used to say I didn’t have time for because now, our time is at risk. Oh, the essence of sweet, unfearful time.
Bumper-to-bumper traffic on Interstate 90. Road rage on 90. The one going way too slow on 90. Anything on 90 when my wheels have been parked more than they ever have been in my life.
The repetition of going to and from East Cleveland five days a week, over and over again. The repetition and nag of errands. The repetition of running into a store for just one quick thing when I now live in a world where I dodge stores and I dodge people.
Living for the weekend, for the vacation, for the future, when every day feels like one big blur of days.
The same faces, the same building, the same good ole’ American routine.
A 40-minute wait at a restaurant on a Friday night because everyone is out for a happy weekend in a town that is now a ghost town.
Gas nearing three to four dollars a gallon because as good as 0.99 cents sounds, it’s an ugly number. A number that means things are not how they should be.
A long line at my favorite fast-food shop without the fear of being close to strangers. The lady in the checkout line who is just a tad too close and in my business as she waits behind me because even that would feel good right now.
A care-free life, when I can browse and touch for as long as I wish, comparing every shade of lipstick known to man without worrying about risks, without dodging crowds, without having to find many things on an app for curbside pick-up.
A spontaneous date night that starts at near one in the morning, waiting for sunrise to appear in any place we choose because he just doesn’t like plans and because we can go anywhere we want. And him. Remind me to never take for granted the one who taught me how to gamble, how to live no matter which way the odds go, how to feel a joy that, as I once wrote, would take a magician to make real.
A crowded summer fair. A crowded beach. A crowded mall. A crowded mind with schedules, and plans, and goals. A crowded soul full of a life lived. A crowded anything.
A trip to NYC with people shoulder to shoulder, bumping into you all day, or a crowded Staten Island Ferry with the Statue of Liberty in close view. Because at least that crowd, who is fighting their hardest battle since 9-11, meant you were still okay. At least Lady Liberty meant you were free to be, free to roam, free to dream, free to do, and free to live.
Dinner dates with friends when you’re just not up to it. The calls from co-workers when you just don’t want to talk about work anymore.
Planning for a future when even the present is so uncertain.
Coordinating interviews because musicians are booking venues and publicity features are needed. Because life is being lived. Dreams are being made true on a stage for the world to see. Life is just going round and round.
The ability to plan a road trip to anywhere and go anytime I want without restriction.
The solace of a busy freeway on a dark night.
The solace of a mind at ease.
The solace of not knowing tomorrow but knowing enough to make plans and crush goals.
The solace of knowing as long as you protect yourself and take care of yourself, your tomorrows may not be as fragile as they are today.
The solace of living your life and living completely in the moment when an unforeseen pause button is now your narrative.
The security of front-liners. Nurses and doctors and scientists and politicians and store clerks who are fighting even more than we are, who are courageous heroes facing an enemy head-on, even more than we are.
Remind me not to say, ‘when things get better.’ Remind me to say, ‘if things get better.’ Because while hope is profound (I write to let hope glisten), I also know I’m not invincible. I’m not more special than the ones who didn’t make it. I’m not untouchable. I’m not entitled to a place in this world.
So, I remind myself to say, ‘if.’
If I’m ever so lucky to live again in a world I will never again take for granted.
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Felicia Naoum, 31 of Parma, Ohio. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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