• Grace Batey

What Do You Notice?

What were you doing before life as we knew it came to a halt? 

Monday through Thursday I’d be up by 7:00 am and out the door by 8:30. (That's assuming I was on time which, if you know me at all, is unlikely) but I was out of the house before 9 at the latest everyday. I’d spend a handful of each day at school. Pushing through my daily routine going from class to class, keeping my head down and living in my bubble that I so carefully crafted as neither antisocial nor overly friendly. A bubble small enough to keep me from having to talk to the person next to me in class. It’s not that the kids next to me weren't cool or nice or smart. I just didn't feel like talking to them. This is just one of the things that I realize I took for granted.

Along with school, I also worked four days a week. I’d come home, make my way to my room get ready and head to work. Many times after work I’d hang out with friends and get home by the time my family was asleep. Tomorrow I’d do the same thing… and the next day… and the next. Any moment that I wasn't at school or work I’d be hanging out with friends or sitting in my room on my phone scrolling through twitter or … TikTok. Don’t judge me. 

My point being; I was constantly stimulated and kept busy. 

At the beginning of March I got extremely sick and was bed ridden for a week and a half. Eager for my life to return to normal, something crazy happened. The whole. Entire. World. Shut. Down.  How incredibly unfair!, I thought to myself. Right when I get healthy again?? Ohh how I moped around the house for days. Little Miss Grace was upset, rightfully so, right? I couldn’t go out to eat, or see my friends. I couldn't even go to Marshalls for no reason and spend unnecessary amounts of money on things I didn’t need. I was so upset for days, I took the liberty in diagnosing myself as clinically depressed. My mom sat down next to me on the couch after a few days of me being visibly upset. I thought she was going to feed my need for attention and pity at this time and comfort me. She did no such thing. Instead she said “Cut it out. Enough of the moping around the house as if you live the hardest life on earth. We’re not making you slave away everyday during this time. I challenge you to do one thing; notice how lucky you are.” Appalled. I was appalled, the lack of sympathy from this woman I call my mother! What kind of pep talk was that???? I jumped off the couch in anger, determined to keep the moping and grumpiness up as long as I could.

The next morning, day 2907238659 of being quarantined, I woke up prepared to do a whole lot of nothing when I noticed my favorite plant had a new baby leaf. This isn’t a rare occurrence; my plants have new leaves all the time. But on normal days I rarely stopped to look at my plants and their new leaves or appreciate them. This new little leaf meant something to me, I had noticed it, I had the TIME to notice it. It was a precious moment. 

Since I’ve been quarantined I’ve thought alot about the things we all used to be able to do. I’m just as sad as everyone else that we don’t get to live our normal lives. I miss my friends and our weekly bonfires, being obnoxiously loud in movie theaters and finding a new place to watch the sunset every week with some sort of unhealthy snack in our laps. I miss going to work, the hugs from my favorite customers and getting sushi for half off everyday.  Those are golden moments that I miss, but if I spend too much time reminiscing on old times I miss noticing new precious moments. Life is made up of seasons with each season offering new challenges, new routines and new precious moments. I’m not saying seize each and every day of quarantine like it’s your last, or lose the 15 pounds or write a book or cure cancer. Just take this time to do what life wouldn’t let you do before, slow down and notice. I have new moments now; like waking up to the teapot whistling in the kitchen because my mom has gotten me addicted to green tea. Or sitting on the patio during sunset with my dad listening to George Jones and Merle Haggard while he grills chicken. Staying up with my mom every single night until 4:00 am watching Dateline. Singing new songs with my brother that we never got around to learning before. Playing my nana’s favorite game of Gin Rummy at the kitchen table until the loser gets too heated to keep playing. Or even just writing this on my front porch listening to Jack Johnson's living room concert on Instagram live. 

It’s okay to want life to go back to normal and miss what you used to be able to do. This season is filled with time and this time is allowing you to NOTICE. Do not dwell but rather appreciate old moments that you may have considered a basic part of your day before everything changed. Consider altering habits you had before. When school starts again I will talk to the kids next to me, because I now realize how valuable human interaction is. Notice the new moments, the now, the precious ones we won’t get back someday. Don’t miss the growth of new leaves by being too busy watching the wilting of old ones.

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