what are you looking forward to?

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I loved my friend carly’s blog post last week where she asked the question, what are you looking forward to? You know, as life “after” this phase of heartbreak by way of pandemic subsides and you can hug friends again and hop on planes and go to the theatre. This exercise was rather insightful and a little bit therapeutic for me, as I’m realizing the last 12 months have shifted so much of who I am (or who I was) and what I once lived for has kind of taken a bit of a back seat in my “after” dreams. I’m still working through a lot of it (aren’t we all?), but my priorities, my dreams, my hopes for my future are indeed an entirely different list than if you’d asked me this question this time last year. While I have no desire (right now) to ever get on a crowded airplane and travel again (where is my freaking adventure bug?!), I’d say I’m actually content with my little list of what I’m looking forward to most “after” and even though the last 12 months have rocked me (and all of us) in countless ways, I’m thankful for the growth I’ve found within them.

(cheeks painted by Madalena the other day when we were painting butterflies together and somehow mama’s face became the canvas!)

This. Top of my list. Seeing a friend and hugging her. Gathering with several friends around a tiny table where we talk long after the plates have been cleared away. Being in the same shared space, not through a screen. Not through a text message. But beside them. I’m going to be so obnoxious with wanting to hold their hands and touch their arms and hug more intimately than the silly side hug with a pat on the back I usually mustered. I have missed being in the warmth and love of my dear friends and I’ll be standing with arms stretched open and tears running down my cheeks when the time comes.

We actually had a trip planned to Malta for our anniversary last summer. It’s hard to even talk about now. We’d cleared the highly anticipated trip from our calendars weeks prior when we realized it wasn’t possible but I’d forgotten to delete the layover in Paris from our shared i-cal and when that pinged on my phone last June, it felt like a gut punch. I was sitting on the floor trying my best to wrangle my older kids into finishing their virtual zoom learning for the day and trying to keep my younger two from tearing up said older three’s school papers. There was so much bribing that day to just finish the math problems or the zoom lesson or the book reading. There were so many tears, too.

I’m really hopeful for time with “just Josh”at some point in our “after.” I love my kids and being with them so much this last year has filled my cup but also depleted it at the same time. I don’t want to whine, I’m so thankful and I love them with my entire heart, but yeah. I’m looking forward to a night away with my husband someday.

I have a sister in LA, one in NYC and one in Boston. One of my sister’s had a baby last spring and I can’t wait to finally get to meet her and hold her! It’s crazy to think we haven’t met her yet and she’s basically walking! There have been unexpected health trials this year in our family making it all the more difficult not having the opportunity to be together in person. Very thankful for technology that shares our tiny faces in a screen daily, but definitely counting down the days to hugging and holding and being right beside all three of my sisters.

GOING TO THE BALLET (or honestly even a movie theatre or a children’s puppet show or anything requiring a ticket and a seat!)
I really loved the days of dressing up and going to the theatre. One of my favorite sounds in all the world is when the orchestra is warming up before the curtain rises. And when the lights go dim and the crowd grows quiet as you’re on the cusp of being transported away to something full of beauty and wonder by way of performers. I miss that.

I also miss the shared popcorn in movie theatres where my kids often wear home their 3D glasses and don’t take them off for 16 more hours. The magic is also there, amidst the milk dud candies and the constant stream of questions from a tiny Conrad beside me and the way the big screen can make you laugh and cry in the span of two hours. Really looking forward to seeing a movie inside a theatre again.

I really missed our annual pie night this winter. As someone who is more introverted and doesn’t really enjoy too big of parties or social gatherings, I do miss sitting amongst good friends with pie on our plates and a good playful round of “competition” by way of a lighthearted awards ceremony and all the fun the voting round would bring.

I was always like, someday I’ll take class again. And then when I actually couldn’t, man, have I wanted it every single day. My heart really goes out to all the dancers who had to get creative for many months on how to move when they didn’t have access to studio spaces or time with other dancers in one. I can’t wait to get into a dance class and move beside other people soon.

in March, we’ll be coming up on a full year of not attending church in a meeting house. our family has been doing our best to keep some sort of “home church” on our weekly itinerary, but I miss what I once took for granted by way of the strength and love I often felt from fellow members of my congregation as we’d serve together and engage in faith-building discussions and uplifting sermons every week. I am really looking forward to more of this in our “after”.

Won’t lie. This is actually top of my list. :)

what are you looking forward to “after”? have the past several months at home changed your perspective on anything you used to prioritize?

  1. Laynie

    My friends and I started doing an annual pie night because of you! Missed it so much this year! Such a fun tradition.

    I can’t wait to sit in a theater again too! We usually see an orchestra or play at least once a year…how I miss that scene.

  2. Kelly

    Oh I totally agree.. a massage is at the top of my list, too! 💁🏻‍♀️ A date night out with my husband, weekend brunch, out to the movies, hugging friends and family, taking a cooking class or a paint night, and taking my 2 year old to discovery museums and gymnastics classes and library story times. So much to look forward to while we wait and live life as best we can ❤️

  3. Shannon

    It’s really comforting to see another human who shares so many views of how this pandemic has shaped them. I feel like a completely different person in terms of my dreams and aspirations compared to myself this time last year. And I feel like in my industry that’s hard to understand. I don’t know if as many people in my industry share that sentiment, so it really makes me feel at peace with something I’ve been struggling with for so long. And that’s having entirely different dreams for where my life will be in 5, 10, years down the road. Thank you so much for sharing. I’m looking forward to many of the same things in the “after”. The biggest thing for me is a life with much less work and much more life. This time has really shown me just how fragile life is and how important it is to never take tomorrow for granted.

  4. Emma

    I’m surprised at how much I’m not missing travelling. It was what my husband and I loved to do the most, and the money we’ve saved we’ve put into our house and buying a few lovely pieces and decorations etc and I’ve loved it so much. I’m much more of a homebird than I thought.

    I am really missing all the small things though, I miss my morning swim at my gym, and being able to just pop to a cafe for a cup of tea with my mum or a friend.

  5. Megan

    I’m right there with you on the hugs! I can’t wait to hug my people, throw birthday parties and help out in my daughters kindergarten class! I also miss our vacations to Hawaii, my absolute favorite place to be. 😊

  6. Joy

    1. A weekend away from my kids. Preferably with my husband.
    2. Sleeping in on said weekend away
    3. Having a big cookout for friends and family like we used to
    4. Smiling at people in public with more than just my eyes
    5. Not feeling like I’m inflicting potential doom on my family or myself every time I step out of my house and in contact with other people.

  7. Vanessa

    Loved this post, something like this really changes us and our priorities. Saw you were coming to Malta! If you ever make it here one day we would love to show you around!

  8. Kelly andrews

    I wear a mask for my massage, it’s actually not too bad someohow I manage to breathe even while facing down! Do you all have massage envy’s? Highly recommend them!

  9. Stephanie

    Im looking forward to the end of masks. I hate them.Not a very long list from me!

  10. elle

    Dinner out as a family and a couple, no masks, no fear about the virus, air travel to anywhere, being with people who make me feel good.

  11. Cate

    Just curious, what about your parents and brother? Do you live close to them or Josh’s family now? I have often wondered if that is why you picked AZ, because you have family there.
    Also, do your kids go to school in person, or are you homeschooling in AZ? Are you excited for school/preschool again?
    Praying for your family with the health issues. I cannot wait until the day that you (we) can do all these things on your list!!! I am so proud of you guys for the way you have continued to be a light even when times have been extraordinarily hard! Keep up the great work!
    Can’t wait for your book!!!

  12. Kaelen

    I love this! It has been hard to think about “after” as we all try to get through the endless now. For me, I’m looking forward to hanging out with friends again, to going out to dinner with my husband (we used to have a standing weekly date night) and I’m totally dying to travel, germ-tubes be damned- but I will be wearing a mask most of the time because planes always made me sick, even in the before-times.

    xoKaelen | Darling Marcelle

  13. Martha Elena

    I want to go out without a mask on my face; I want to go home without the constant fear of whether I am carrying the virus as a guest. I want to go on vacation, go to a party, go out with my friends. I want to see my children happy and calm going to their schools and seeing their friends.

  14. Tracy

    a massage and a vacation. and going home without worrying about getting my mom sick. and a date with the hubby. looking forward to them all!

  15. Roseann

    This is a beautiful list, Naomi. Thank you for sharing.

  16. Marie

    Was just thinking about a massage too! :)

  17. E

    I’ll enjoy seeing faces again — even the faces of a complete strager. The masks have made social interactions less nuanced. I never understood how much someone’s face revealed about them until half of it was hidden!