In paid partnership withAbsolut® Juice

How Focusing on What We Can Do Instead of What We Can’t Has Helped Me This Year

published Sep 4, 2020
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Credit: Absolut Juice/Jess D'Amelio

Social distancing hasn’t replaced our need for socializing. “How We Gather Now” is Apartment Therapy’s look at how we’re finding safe new ways to get together in 2020, presented in partnership with Absolut Juice. We’ve heard about sunset cocktails on a city roof; the simple joys of the front porch, and celebrating even in times of crisis. Now, Jelisa recalibrates her idea of “normal”…

I’m finding that it’s hard not to use superlatives and definites and absolutes to describe this year. It has been the worst, the hardest, the most all-around challenging year of my life — and I know I’m not alone in feeling that. We’re nine months in, and I swear at least six of those months have been April. I haven’t seen my parents or my nieces since we were all in winter coats and didn’t have to hesitate before we hugged each other. Normally I would’ve traveled every few weeks, but this year, it took months for me to use a single tank of gas. I filled my car up in April and didn’t go back to the gas station until, like, fourth April. 

After weeks of uncertainty and isolation, so many little things have taken on a kind of importance that they didn’t have in the Before Times. I’ve literally spent hours watching the birds in the yard. (And I may or may not have named some of the squirrels. I see you, Timothy.) When our local lockdown ended, I couldn’t wait to see my friends again, even if we sat in someone’s driveway and spent the first 30 minutes trying to estimate what six feet apart was supposed to look like. It felt so good to be together, to laugh, to twist the lid on the first post-shutdown bottle of Absolut Juice and pour a drink for ANOTHER HUMAN PERSON. 

One of the biggest challenges of the After Times (or, more accurately, the Still in the Middle of It Times) has been readjusting my expectations, and thinking about what we can do together — not about what we can’t do, or might not be ready to do, or aren’t comfortable with yet. There have been a lot more evenings spent sitting on the sidewalk watching the streetlights flicker on, a lot more nights spent carrying a lawn chair, a bag of takeout, and a BYO-beverage onto somebody’s back patio, and a lot more outdoor movies projected onto a king-sized flat sheet. 

There’s still a lot of “normal” out there, even if it takes a little more effort to find it. We can still get together for meals, have drinks together, laugh together. I’ve had at least a dozen best nights of the summer, and surely there’s more to come this fall. Next month might even be the best April yet. 

Credit: Absolut Juice

Toast the change of the Aprils with an Absolut Juice Apple Mule:
Fill a mule mug with ice cubes. Add 1 1/2 part Absolut Juice Apple, 1 part ginger ale, 1 part lemonade, and 2 dashes bitters. Garnish with a lime wedge.