It is hard to believe that summer is almost here. For some, the feeling of summer normally begins with Memorial Day.
Ahhh…Memorial day… while not the scientific beginning of summer, but rather what people feel is the start of summer. It is when barbecue grills start to get used more as friends and family gather in front yards and around swimming pools. In addition, it is when it is socially acceptable to wear white… at least until Labor Day.
Memorial Day also marks the end or almost end of the school year. Families begin to gather their belongings for the family road trip, camping trip or for a destination somewhere tropical that has drinks with the little fancy umbrellas. It is also a time when kids are getting ready to see friends that they have not seen for a whole year as they prepare for another unforgettable time at camp.
Or at least it has been in summers past. Because this summer is going to be unlike any others we have ever experienced.
This summer we will be without the evenings so many of us spent under the stars at the Hollywood Bowl listening to incredible live music, afternoons and evenings in the stands at our favorite baseball stadium, or the afternoons out at the local pool. Even going to the beach this summer will be different.
Like you, I am still struggling to comprehend the sheer amount of upheaval our lives and our world have experienced by something so small that it can only be seen under a microscope.
So much of what we were expecting to be able to see, do, and experience has been taken away from us.
It is important for all of us to take a moment and grieve what we have lost. It is okay to be sad. The loss we feel is real and needs to be recognized and acknowledged. While we might like to face it, we need to realize that unfortunately we will not get back what we lost. These feelings of sadness illustrate how much we love and value the experiences that we were looking forward to doing in the days, weeks and months ahead.
While we long for what we lost, now is the time to turn our attention to new adventures, new experiences that we can share with our family.
Instead of going to a local pool, turn the sprinklers on and run around to cool off.
Instead of going to a movie in a theater, have an outdoor movie night in your yard, complete with popcorn and snacks.
Instead of going to the Hollywood Bowl, make or pick up your favorite picnic food and go outside for an evening picnic and listen to music.
Grab your tent and camp outside in your yard or inside in your living room. (And don’t forget the s’mores!)
Just because our lives have been turned upside down, does not mean that we cannot find new ways to have fun. Yes, it is more challenging, but we are a creative people. See what others are doing. It is okay to copy what others are doing… it shows them that they had a very good idea.
And remember, just because you are not able to go to a tropical paradise this summer, does not mean that you cannot experience the tropics. Pick up some of the fancy drink umbrellas; put them in all of your drinks this summer.
Jason Moss is executive director of the Jewish Federation of the GREATER san gabriel and pomona valleys.