Easter Lovin’

Hello y’all and happy Easter (if you celebrate)!

Also, I apologize for the southern y’all, but I just can’t shake it since being back from Selma.

Anyway, happy Easter! I’m not sure why, but lately, I have been reflecting a whole lot on my past year. And actually, thinking about it, I know exactly why. Last year, I wrote a blog post on Easter that was basically talking about how the holidays were so different as a twentysomething – there was no more Easter Bunny, no more colored eggs, and worst of all, no family love around. I love school and my job is great, but last year, being away from everyone I loved was hitting me hard.

This year, things are looking a little different. I facetimed with my parents this morning, I called my grandmother, I had an amazing brunch with a really good group of friends, and then I went to see my sister to catch up, see a movie, and have a nice Easter dinner. And now, I’m here. Writing this blog. It really is amazing to see how much can change in one year. Last year, I felt completely isolated and alone. This year, I was surrounded by friends, family, and love.

And fittingly enough, I’m listening to one of my favorite songs from one of my favorite musicals – Seasons of Love from Rent – as I write this.

“How do you measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee, in inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife, in five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes.
How do you measure a year in the life?
…measure in love.” 

And friends, that is the difference. Last year, last Easter, was 365 days ago. I lived in a different apartment. I had different friends. I was taking different classes. I had, for all intents and purposes, a completely different life.

What changed was my mindset. My perspective. This Easter, I am choosing to live in love.

Last Easter, after I wrote my semi-emo forever-lonely blog post, I received an outpouring of love and support from all of those around me. I just didn’t see it. A friend sent me a care package, two friends called me immediately after I posted the blog just to check in, people asked me about it the next day…it was just great, but I didn’t see it in the same way. This year, I’m in a place where I can not only feel the love around me, but I can share it. I can give love to others to acknowledge my own appreciation. But, admittedly, that is hard to do when you aren’t in that place. So for all who are reading, here are some reminders.

  1. Love yourself. Love others. In that order.
    • Last year, I was not in a place to share love. My well was empty, and it needed some serious refilling. I needed to focus on myself first, so then I could learn to see and appreciate all the love that was surrounding me.
  2. Take off the blinders. 
    • Last year, I was only able to see what was right in front of me. Looking outside that perimeter, there is so much more. Most of the friends that I have (still) are not in the same city as me. And the friends that I do have here this year are only friends because we are able to have a deep and genuine connection. Everyone else can step. But family is still family, even if they are five hours away. Taking off the blinders can help you see all the surrounding love that might not be in your physical area.
  3. It’s not easy.
    • Just because I’m in a better place this Easter doesn’t mean that last year was a picnic. Being open-hearted means being vulnerable, and even to this day, that is one of the hardest things for me to be. It’s scary. But through love, it is possible.

So with that, I am spreading all the Easter love this year to all of you today and every day!

Easter Blues

What I did last Sunday:
-Woke up at approximately 7:30am
-Made myself a cup of coffee
-School work until approximately 10:00am
-Made myself a second cup of coffee, two eggs (over-medium), and two pieces of toast
-Did laundry
-Cleaned
-Went grocery shopping
-Finished homework

What I did this Sunday:
-Woke up at approximately 7:30am
-Made myself a cup of coffee
-School work until approximately 10:00am
-Made myself a second cup of coffee, two eggs (over-medium), and two pieces of toast
-Did laundry
-Cleaned
-Went grocery shopping
-Finished homework

Needless to say, I like having a routine.

Why should the routine have changed today? Well, today is Easter! So Happy Easter to all. Regardless of having a routine, I have noticed that my Easters have changed a bit in the past twentysomething years.

Easter Twentysomething Years Ago
“Michael! Michael! The Easter Bunny came! Come see!” I jumped out of bed, little toes in little slippers, running down the staircase taking two steps at a time. “Look, Michael!” My waxy wicker Easter basket, spray painted sky blue, was filled with candies, chocolates, and toys. Green plastic grass spilled over the sides of the basket. I raced to the kitchen, shocked every single year that the Easter Bunny left a note, ate the carrots, and left only the nubs with dad-shaped teeth marks at the end. It was a holiday that didn’t really mean anything to me, not religiously anyway. But it meant springtime. It meant family and good food. It meant love around the table. 

Easter 2015
-Woke up at approximately 7:30am
-Made myself a cup of coffee
-School work….
Do I need to continue? No, I think you get the picture.

Needless to say, things have changed a bit from twentysomething years ago.

First things first, I’m no longer four years old, and I don’t believe in the magic of the Easter Bunny. But even just a few years ago, I believed in the magic of life. The reciprocity of giving magic to others who needed it most. But now, I feel like Tim Allen in the second Santa Claus movie right before all his magic drained out. I feel tired. And not just in a I need more sleep kind of way. Tired in a my mind and body is exhausted kind of way. I guess grad school will do that to you, right?

I also miss everyone, and that’s especially challenging around holidays. My family lives five hours away and most of my close friends don’t live around me. And those that do, they have their own families and their own Easter dinners and their own plans.

Last night, I called my dad in a moment of distress. “I’m lonely and I’m having an awful night.” Words like that don’t usually exit my mouth. In my head? Sometimes. But they usually stay there. Because what can my dad do from five hours away? Also, I tell myself that since I’m a grown man, I’m not allowed to be lonely anymore. Which I now realize is silly. “What am I supposed to do?” I asked him. “I miss holidays when I was around the family.” His advice? “Well, son, it’s time for you to find a partner and make your own family!”

OKAY DAD THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME FEEL SO MUCH BETTER. It’s not like partners grow on trees, you know!!

So this year, I was left with no family around the table, no partner to make my own family with, and no homemade Easter Ham. I did the best I could, though. I bought a mini ham, cooked up some salt potatoes, and microwaved some canned carrots with a little bit of brown sugar on top…not like my mom’s at all (but at least I tried). Later, when I was grocery shopping, my cart acted as a magnet and was drawn towards the section full of Easter candy. And just for the hell of it, I bought three Russell Stover chocolate eggs: caramel, coconut, and marshmallow. And I’m going to eat every single one of those chocolate eggs and not feel bad about it. Because if that’s going to be my one and only Easter indulgence for this year, then so be it.

I’m worried that my twentysomething perception of the world is going to be forever ingrained in my head. “When will it change? When will it be different?” I asked my mom this morning. “When you have your own kids,” she responded. And even though that is in the far future, I sure hope she’s right. Because right now, I’m seeing everything through cloudy gray lenses. The world didn’t stop today for Easter like it did so many years ago. Nothing about my routine changed. Nothing in the world was different. The grocery store was still open, people were still rushing through the aisles and honking impatiently on the road…it’s not special anymore. This year, I didn’t even dye Easter eggs, a tradition that I’ve done every single year since as far back as I can remember, even if it meant sitting alone with a dozen of eggs to myself in my college dorm room.

Maybe this is just a part of growing up. Or maybe this is only temporarily. I think I’m going to go talk to Russell Stover and see what he thinks…