How Do You Measure A Year?

Seasons of Love, the opening song to Broadway’s Rent, is one of the most popular musical numbers of all time. The show follows a group of friends living through the AIDS pandemic in the late 80’s New York City. The opening song, reprised multiple times throughout the show, proclaims the ups and downs of a year spent together.

“525,600 minutes. How do you measure, measure a year?”

The United States is quickly approaching a year of coronavirus pandemic life. On March 16, 2020, then-President Trump asked the nation for “15 days to slow the spread.” By March 16, 2021, the U.S. will likely surpass 525,600 COVID-19 deaths. One death per minute of the pandemic.

How do you measure a year?

“In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee? In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife?”

We love to focus on the significant moments of life; travel adventures, celebrations, promotions, and moves. These exciting times provide well-liked and adored photos on social media. They pepper our lives with fun and happiness. But, they’re also fleeting moments in the grand scheme of our lives.

Life is mostly comprised of mundane moments. Cooking a meal for a loved one. Watching a favorite movie. Walking the dog. These often overlooked and undervalued instants shape our very existence. Yet, we often moved too quickly in our pre-pandemic world to appreciate the mundane. Quarantine living reminded us of their importance.

Moments previously overlooked now receive our full attention. Friends and family in other towns are now more part of our lives than before, thanks to regular FaceTime calls. And, let’s face it, our dogs are loving the extra recognition.

In reality, we had all the tools and the time to enjoy the mundane before the pandemic. We were just too busy. Too burnt out. Too in motion. Today, things are different.

A year spent inside and away from people forced us to focus on our relationships. Not on constant celebrations and social media-approved facades, but on real, everyday instances within our lives. Both the highs and the lows. A year spent inside provided the opportunity to focus on love.

How we express love with our family, our friends, and our neighbors is often small, mundane moments. A text message out of the blue. A hand-written note. Celebrating the lives of those we’ve lost. These moments used to get lost in the shuffle; now, they are all we have, and we’re much better for it.

So, how do you measure a year?

“How about love? Measure in love.”


This story is part of Medium’s pandemic prompt: What Comes To Mind When You Think About The Pandemic Anniversary?

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