When I was a child our family would pack into our Ford station-wagon and head out to Pennypacker Park to watch the fireworks. We played in the playground or chased fireflies until the moment when it became dark. Then the night would light up and we cheered with delight as we gazed skyward. It felt magical to enjoy a hot night of colorful pyrotechnics. The crack, pop and whiz of the fireworks foretold if we’d be seeing a Roman Candle or a burst of high-definition pink chrysanthemum. My favorite was the waterfall, cascading sparkles in the sky.
Tonight I may skip the fireworks. Fortunate to live in New York City where the Macy’s fireworks grace the darkness over the East River, I am reticent to stand among so many on the East River Promenade to catch a glimpse of the larger displays. It is not only that we are making our way out of a pandemic, it’s more that I don’t like myself so much when I jockey to find the right spot and stake my claim. I become territorial and highly suspicious of my fellow humans. Some come with young children, and I turn into an angry older woman afraid that they will block my view by placing their toddler on their shoulders. Those moments as I wait do not showcase my best self. I am greedy about my space, selfishly competitive to those who only seek an evening of summer recreation.
After spending so much time these past fifteen months learning more patience, enjoying moments of solitude, I think stepping away from the fireworks will be an act of kindness for myself as well as the nameless strangers who I might secretly hold in contempt. I’d rather bask in my young memories. I was less cynical then. That child in me still feels the awe of the seven-year-old in Pennypacker Park. The sparkle of a childhood recollection reignites the magic of an earlier time.
- Think of the ways you’ve grown during the pandemic and find ways to foster that growth as we transition.
- Take a mental health day. If you can’t take the day off, perhaps you can give yourself and hour or two. And, if you don’t have any time to spare, take a minute to touch base with yourself.
- When things didn’t turn out how you would have liked, remember to say to yourself, ‘it’s not what I wanted, but it’s what I’ve got.’ Sometimes it just keeps it real.