Edit Desk: Journal full of memories
At the beginning of the quarantine I made a diary. I’ve crammed as many thoughts, pictures, words, and feelings as possible into the pages of my lavender moleskin notebook.
The diary is now as thick as ever and the bond works hard to keep all of my memories together.
Periodically, I’ll be going over my journal pages to think about what has happened over the past 11 months. The days, weeks and months have mixed up for me, but my diary shows how different moments and changes have come about during this pandemic.
I wrote about my first wearing a mask in public months ago, which we all now take for granted. I’ve documented local and national news. In my first few posts I wrote about my hopes and dreams for a vaccine, which is now a reality. The last photo I took was of Sandra Lindsay, the first American woman to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
When I think about it, I notice certain memories more than others. One journal entry that always makes me pause as I flip through the pages is titled “Lehigh Things I Look Forward to”.
I wrote this entry in early May. I described all the things I was looking forward to when I returned to campus for a regular semester in August. I had the hope of returning to my sisterhood chapter house as a junior. I looked forward to personal courses and meeting people on campus. I couldn’t wait to resume my position as a tour guide and meet families from diverse backgrounds. I even wanted to sit at an FML desk for hours.
Unfortunately, those everyday events that used to be commonplace did not occur. I haven’t been to a Lehigh classroom since March. I couldn’t live in my sorority chapter house and didn’t give personal campus tours.
In the grand scheme of things, I realize that these are all small losses, and I am very happy that I have not suffered more losses. However, as I pondered these small losses after reading my journal entry, I realized something. There are so many Lehigh things that I wasn’t looking forward to but that I miss so much.
I miss going to the Global Cafe in Williams Hall and seeing a sea of people waiting in line for lunch. I miss getting on the bus and having to hold on to a pole among a crowd of friends and acquaintances. I miss walking around on the creaky hardwood in Linderman’s rotunda to withdraw after realizing all the tables were occupied. I miss waking up at 7:55 a.m. even though I would have been half asleep if I walked down South Mountain. I miss the mail center queues, I miss the late nights at FML, and I miss having to walk through rainstorms to get across campus.
I wasn’t looking forward to these experiences as I sat down to write about Lehigh things I was looking forward to. In fact, all of the above things that I miss would have pissed me off or something I was scared of before March 2020.
As I long for these experiences, it has caused a revelation for me. Life is not always easy or pleasant. In fact, life has some really annoying moments and some really terrible moments at times.
This pandemic has stolen so much from us all, big and small. Although it’s difficult to be positive all the time because our whole lives are disrupted, I’ve learned not to bother with the little things that aren’t perfect. Life has always been imperfectly perfect and I notice that now more than ever. The little inconveniences in life just make the big things so much better.
And believe me, the next time I see a packed bus or a long lunch break in Williams, I’ll have the biggest smile on my face. And I hope when I see you in this crowd you’ll smile back too. Because these types of experiences are part of the Lehigh routine that none of us have ever looked forward to, but that convey a sense of normality and community that we may miss most.