Finding New Things to Look Forward To

Even if they’re weird.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Sometimes living in lockdown mode reminds me of being pregnant. It seems like it’s lasting forever, there’s tons of scary information on the internet about it and all I want to do is binge on carbs.

Of course at the end of being pregnant, there’s a squishy little peanut baby to look forward to. I’m not sure what there is to look forward to at the end of this time where every day feels like the loading icon on my computer screen.

Sometimes, I look forward to the time when I can see my family and we can double dip the guacamole and squish together on the love seat in my parents’ living room and listen to my dad play Neil Young on the guitar. Other days, I just look forward to a time when I can go to Home Depot to pick up a new door latch for my chicken coop without having to wear a mask and wait in a fifty person line to enter the store.

One of the things that sets us humans apart from other species is our amazing ability to look ahead to the future and make plans. In evolutionary terms, as our prefrontal cortex got larger and larger, we started to realize that storing food up in the summer might allow us to survive through the winter. Our ability to think ahead is why we have cities, airplanes, credit cards and Evite.

I’ve been doing a lot of birdwatching off my back deck and sometimes I get a little pissy, watching the titmice and woodpeckers, just going about their day, eatin’ seeds like there’s no global crisis going on.

May is the month when my family usually puts our summer plans together. We go camping, rent condos on the beach, go for bike rides and long hikes. We take train rides, visit friends and find any excuse we can to get in the water.

When I fold laundry at night after the kids go to bed, it’s like flipping the pages of a scrapbook. I fold t-shirts from Lake Placid, Bar Harbor, Burlington. A sweatshirt from Monterey Bay goes on to of pajama pants from Baltimore. The I (heart) NY shirt that cost $5 seems fragile and beautiful now since I know we won’t be getting another one soon.

This year, there will be no t-shirts.

With no plans on the horizon, I found myself feeling a little bereft. I’m tired of the infinite present and I just want something to look forward to. With a calendar full of blank squares, I’m just not myself.

It’s hard for me to exercise knowing the race I usually run at the end of the summer is cancelled. I don’t feel like buying the new Birkenstocks I’ve wanted since I know I won’t be able to walk around Cape Cod with them this year.

With my mood in the toilet and time on my hands, I decided to get creative. I tried to think about things I’ve wanted to do but haven’t because of time, money or both.

Writing a book doesn’t interest me.

I’m already a great knitter.

Instead I landed on finally removing a pesky little skin tag that I’ve had on my back for at least 20 years. It’s nothing really, just a fleshy, pale lump of skin about the size of a grain of rice located just below my left shoulder blade. About once a year, I think, “I’d really like to get that removed.”

With trips and concerts off the table, I jumped into PST (Project Skin Tag).

Unlike most things, it turns out removing a skin tag is pretty easy. I ordered a little device online that slips a tiny, tight stretchy band over the offending tag. It cuts off the blood supply and within 7–10 days, the dead skin falls painlessly away.

Sure, it’s gross, but — are you not a human being with your own gross things?

When the kit arrived, I waited for my husband to get home from work. I led him to our bedroom where I closed the door and took my shirt off.

“I need you to do something for me,” I said, handing him the kit.

Five minutes later, the rubber band was on, and my mood was noticeably better. It’s not a vacation or a hug from my mom, but at least now I have something to look forward to.

This week, as I’ve been working from home, I find myself reaching behind my back and touching the bandaid covering my little nub. It’s not painful, but it’ a little itchy. It’s nothing, really.

But it is something. It’s a reminder that not every day is the same. Time is passing. Things are changing. The future will be OK. And in 7–10 days, I’ll be skin-tag free.

Skin tag free since 2020!

Maybe I should put that on a t-shirt.

Big fan of good books, funny looking animals, and great stories. Always ready for the next big thing.

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