We are living through crazy times. What other year conjures memes, just on its own? 2020 is only a little more than halfway through, and yet it’s already infamous for too much insanity happening all at once. [See multiple examples: this amazing song, or this one, or this hilarious rant, or this one.]
One day our children or grandchildren will ask us what it was like to have lived through such a period of tumult. The question is, will we even remember what it was like?
Will you recall the little details, like worrying about the toilet paper supply or an egg shortage on Pesach? Do you remember where you bought your first mask and what it felt like to wonder if you were wearing it right? How we had to figure out via online app exactly what 100 meters from your house meant?
I want to suggest, no, implore you to write down these memories now while they are still fresh.
Take the time to interview your family members about what the transition to Zoom school and working from home was like. How they went from going out to restaurants to learning to make their own sourdough bread and pickles and bagels from scratch. When the shift occurred and we stopped going out to the movies and instead started gathering together to watch Netflix. How old habits fell away, and new pastimes took their place.
Do you remember the bizarre feeling, just a few short months ago, when you were first invited to an online bar or bat mitzvah, attended a wedding of 20 people instead of 200, or paid a virtual shiva call? How for the first time ever, Pesach involved inviting exactly zero guests to our Seder table? Think about how we learned to live with less, as restaurants and theaters and airports closed, when more and more people were furloughed or laid off and left feeling financially insecure.
Did anyone you know or love get sick, or G-d forbid, die this year? What was it like to have to worry from afar, not being allowed to enter the hospital to comfort your loved one? Let’s also reflect on the opportunities the pandemic presented to embrace a new, slower pace of life, allowing us to take the time to get to really get to know our loved ones and to appreciate the chance to spend more quality time with each other than we ever did pre-pandemic. As someone who makes her living creating keepsake legacy books of people’s life stories, I can tell you first-hand that though these memories feel like they’ll never fade, like all other things, they will.
We have no idea what is in store for us, but we do know that once this period passes, we will move on to the next new thing, and these extraordinary times will fade into distant memories.
Do yourself and your future children and grandchildren a favor, and document what living through 2020 has been like for you and your family.
Whether it’s by journaling, scrapbooking, video or even an audio recording, take the time to chronicle what living through 2020 has meant for you and your family.
Now is the time to preserve what may be a once-in-a-century experience – for yourself, for the next generation, and for posterity.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Ilana Sinclair is the Founder of Capture Your Story, a company dedicated to preserving people's most precious memories by creating Life Story books and Lifecycle books for weddings, anniversaries, births and bar/bat mitzvahs through oral history interviews. www.captureyourstory.org