looking forward

Hello! I hope you’re well. I hope you’re practicing social distancing and doing what you can to look after your mental & general health, and that of others. I know I’m likely addressing some members of the underlying health condition community, and my ❤ goes out to you.

If you’re still going to and from work every day because you must, thank you. You are much appreciated. If you have the option to work from home and have been doing that, I thank you, as well. If you’re out of work because these times haven’t been kind to your industry – you’re in my thoughts, and I wanted to come back to the blog to do just a little light ranting on that subject.

I’m in a very privileged position that I’m able to think about my post-pandemic plans without too much financial anxiety. I’ve been making post-pandemic plans, actually, as a way to keep my general anxiety under control. I figured out pretty quickly that entertaining conversations about how this thing or that will be ruined forever because of this virus is a huge trigger. I don’t know if anyone else is feeling this, but some of that “they’re saying such and such store or restaurant will never recover” talk makes me straight up angry. Have we just decided on this? Will we speak it into truth by talking about it? Is all of this down time not the perfect time to make plans on how to help each other out when we can be active people in the world again?

This backstory is dumb but just…hear me out. I mean, what else do you really have going on right now.

I’ve been working from home since my birthday last week (weird birthday gift Universe, but okay) and while I’m definitely grateful for being able to continue working and having space to do it in, being home this much has me coming up with all kinds of little changes I want to make around the house.

…I know this feels like a bad pre-recipe story but again, please bear with me.

I was working with a little peach candle burning away on my desk last week, since Sean’s virus-fighting method was to leave onion halves in a bunch of our windowsills to “cleanse the air.” I remembered buying this candle at Marshall’s as a cheap treat last summer, and realized there’s not much life left in it. “I’ll go back and buy another couple when this is all over,” I added to my mental to-do list.

I don’t know why, but it immediately occurred to me that instead of dropping $3 at Marshall’s, I should probably spend a few extra bucks at any of the small, candle-selling shops in the city that will really need that business post-pandemic. I realized that this also applies to pretty much all of the things on my list. Yes, it will definitely cost more to buy something at one of those shops over something from a massive store. But if you can shop small…shouldn’t you? At the very least, shouldn’t we make that effort when those businesses need us most?

There’s been plenty of times in my life when the cheapest option was the only option, and I acknowledge that that’s reality for a lot of people. I’m very familiar with that situation, believe me. If you’re mad because what I’m suggesting is simply not an option financially, then this probably isn’t directed at you. We all do what we gotta do – there is no judgement.

To everyone else who wants to do some spring/summer shopping when this is all over (again: WHEN THIS IS ALL OVER, not now) whether it’s for clothes, home goods, beauty products, birthday gifts, whatever else – I’m begging you to do as much of it as you can outside of big business!!!

Three! Exclamation! Points!

And you CAN do this without breaking the bank. I’m still pretty cheap, lest we forget. Just do a little research beforehand and give yourself plenty of time on the day you go on your hunt – I promise you can find plenty of what you’re looking for within budget, it just takes a tad more effort.

Also, I’m not just talking shops here. I see you, pubs/restaurants/cafes.

If there was ever a time to go somewhere other than Starbucks for coffee (sorry Starbucks employee friends, I love you but your company will be okay) THIS WILL BE THE TIME. Excited to get back into the world for snacks and drinks? Awesome! Do that (when it’s safe), and tip your waitstaff/bartender! For bonus points: y’know that friend who always orders the higher shelf liquor or more expensive food and then barely tips? Now is a great time to tell that friend to maybe do the opposite of that.

…in the meantime, if you’re having food delivered, throw your delivery person a little extra if you can. (Big emphasis on “if you can.” I can’t stress enough that I’m not asking anyone to do more than they’re able to.)

All I’m saying is that if you’ve been able to make money through this weird, weird time, and your life hasn’t been totally shaken up…consider the actions you can take when we’re safely able to be consumers outside of the internet again. This is no complete solution to getting small businesses back on their feet, but it’s a pretty easy adjustment that could make a difference if enough people partake.

…I can even give you another riveting, real-life, non-candle example.

Me yesterday: *breaks soap dish*

Me @ myself: I should go to Flying Tiger and get at least one more soap dish when this is all said and done, since they’re a hot $3.

Myself back @ me: No you know what, I should see what I find in a vintage/thrift store, or maybe a little bath/beauty type boutique…I’ll do a Saturday morning of poking around SoHo or the village. I’ll probably find a new candle, too. OOH and I can maybe make it a day and meet up with friends after at the pub I’ve never gone this long without visiting…yes this is beautiful.

You like that? Not too radical, right?

By the way, if you aren’t in a big city, I think this totally still applies. To be honest, I’m not really aware of how badly small businesses and the service industry are hurting in small towns due to forced closures and social isolation. It’s been a whole mission to keep up with the changing closures and curfews here, and I think there may have been more extreme measures taken in NYC than more rural parts of the state (and other states) – I’m not positive. But still, can it hurt to shop small anyway? I feel like…no!

It’s only by chance that I’m not still waitressing right now, or working in a farmer’s market, or peddling art on the street. Not a lot of time separates me right now from the me who would’ve been completely helpless during this time. That’s a fact that gives me chills, and gets me fired up to support those in my community who are in that position. I’m actually so fired up that I’m going to go off of private mode on Instagram to encourage people to share this post with others.

I’ll leave you with my hope that you’re finding some kind of peace in all of this. Thanks for sticking around. This will either end sooner or it will end later, but it will end. 🙂

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