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WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Psychotherapist Dr. Barton Goldsmith shares how his perspective has changed and how he plans to live and celebrate in the days to come (post-pandemic)
They say you don’t want to die with regrets. And after living through the last year and a half, you are likely to have a few — mostly related to what you didn’t do before the pandemic, when you could have done almost anything. Now the urge to live life fully has become ever stronger.
Pre-pandemic, we attended events several times a week in spring and early summer, and we typically passed on a lot because we were tired or we knew that band would be back in town or we’d just had too much. Well, soon it will be like the Roaring Twenties again, and this couple has plans. Here’s what we’re looking forward to:
1. Being around people. I’m used to a balance of working with people one-on-one and working with a group or even a crowd, and I miss that. It’s great we have virtual alternatives, but they aren’t the same. Although I suspect some virtual options are here to stay, I’m looking forward to more in-person contact.
2. Hugging more. I get a few vaccinated hugs from like-minded people, and they feel great, but hugging is still relatively rare these days. I used to be one of those people who asked if someone wanted or needed a hug, and I am so looking forward to being that kind of guy again.
3. Going to concerts and intimate musical evenings. From the Forum (in a luxe suite) to Bogies (a small club with great talent we can walk to), returning to live music shows is on the list. Every summer there were concerts in the park by tribute bands, and next year we will attend some of those as well. I’ve been doing backyard concerts for my neighbors this summer, and it’s been fun and appreciated, but I can’t wait to get back to a real show.
4. Celebrate every holiday to the nines. Even Groundhog’s Day is going to be like Prince partying in 1999. I don’t care what the holiday is, I’m going to participate. And yes, I will dress up for Halloween (as Indiana Jones) and be knocking on doors for candy. I think we all need to feel a little bit like kids again.
5. Host dinner parties. This is perhaps my favorite way to socialize. Just eight to 10 wonderful people with some great food, homemade music and maybe even a boat ride around the lake. This is a nice way to bond, relax and enjoy life. My wife is already planning menus.
6. Go to sporting events. I’d love to see the Rams in their new stadium. Before the plague, they would practice at a local college, and many of the players still live out here. Normally I’d avoid going to places where I have to share a bathroom with 50,000 of my closest friends, but I am itching to hear a crowd roar and see my team on the field.
7. Take that trip around the world. I’ve been saving my frequent flyer and hotel miles, and I could use them to buy a new computer, but for the same number of points, we can get two business class tickets around the world. That was the plan before COVID-19 hit, and it will be high on the list once it’s safe again.
I vow to be more grateful we have all these options and to take advantage of them. Life is good enough for us at this moment in time, and I am needed by my people. But as soon as this inkiness is over, we are going to play, and the world is our sandbox.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.”)
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