What The Past Few Months Have Taught Me

Jessica Mackin-Cipro

It’s been a strange few months. It’s gone fast and slow, all at the same time. At times I’ve leaned in and gone full Grey Gardens, while at other times I’ve felt like I’m thriving, living my most productive life.

I question a lot. Like, will I even know how to socialize when this is over? If it is, in fact, ever over. I think mixed feelings about all of this are normal.

I’ve missed baby showers, birthdays, and weddings. I’ve missed my friends and relatives and co-workers. I’ve seen people lose loved ones, or feared they might. I’ve feared losing the ones I love every day since the virus hit. I’m also so grateful for this time spent with my family, all together in a small house. And I cannot wait to hug the ones I’m not quarantined with.

I’ve seen the best in humans, doing everything in our power to help those less fortunate. I’ve seen our community come together. I’ve watched health care workers put on a brave face and battle a scary world. I’ve clapped and cheered for essential workers. I’ve seen so many acts of heroism that have brought tears to my eyes. I’ve seen hospitals in our city fill with New Yorkers on their death-bed. I’ve seen stacked bodies in refrigerator trucks. These are not sights we will soon forget.

My birthday next week is canceled and I have nothing to complain about. I’ve worked long hours for at least 75 days straight and have nothing to complain about. I’ve felt guilty complaining about little things while so many people have it so bad right now. I’ve realized that our health is really all that matters. I’ve learned that I need less in life to be happy.

I’ve gotten in touch with my domestic side and learned how to make a low-carb banana bread (email me if you’d like the recipe!). Banana bread is not something I would have had any interest in B.C. (Before Corona) and I’m not even sure who I am anymore. I never thought I’d be so content sitting, having a cup of tea, and listening to the sound of birds or watching a deer in my yard, but here we are. Mother Nature has also had a chance to get some beauty sleep.

I’ve missed the ability to travel, to get up and go, while I’ve also learned that it’s perfectly fine to just sit still. I’ve had dreams about being at restaurants. And nightmares about being in the city. But what I would give to have strangers climb over me in a ride-share heading downtown for a day of work at The Wing followed by happy hour with friends.

I’ve seen horrible injustice in our country and the world. I’ve watched a nation come together, only to become more divided. I’ve read battles on Facebook that made me sad for the future. I’ve seen Tik Toks that give me hope for the future. I’ve watched social media bring people together like never before. How did they do this in 1918 when you couldn’t Zoom with family members across the country?

I’ve been frightened. I’ve been scared of dying. I’ve been afraid to enter a grocery store. I’ve sanitized my food deliveries. I’ve sanitized my sanitizer.

I’ve also never realized how truly enjoyable food could be. Meals have far too often been an afterthought. I’ve been grateful for our farm stands and local purveyors for providing delivery options that I found to be the safest way to shop.

I’ve been angry at those I didn’t think were doing what was right for the greater good — those not wearing masks or taking it seriously. I’ve had anxiety and I’ve cried when I didn’t understand why this was all happening. I’ve seen others through tough times without the ability to really be with them.

I’ve cried for New York City and felt like a traitor for leaving. I have anxiety about the amount of dust that is probably in our apartment right now. It feels like a lifetime ago when I got off a plane from Miami on March 1 and decided to stay at home.

I thought it would be over in a few weeks if we all just stayed home. I was wrong.

I’ve learned that nothing will ever be what it was, but we will be OK.

I know that this won’t be the Memorial Day weekend we’ve always known on the East End. But this week we’ve tried our best to pay tribute to the spirit of Memorial Day weekend on the East End in this issue. We hope we can give our readers an escape with our features and interviews. We hope we can keep you informed with the news that is so important right now. Please stay safe and healthy.

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