Marking Milestones in a Pandemic

Last week marked one year since launching Bloom Book 3. But instead of feeling joyful, I found I had more mixed emotions than expected. As I started to dissect why I was feeling this way, I realized those thoughts could have some value for others as we move into a month known for marking milestones: end of the school year, graduations, weddings, etc. You may not get to mark those milestones in the way that you’ve anticipated, and for that, let me pause and say I am sorry. From my own experience, I want to encourage you to find some way to mark your milestone during this pandemic. In whatever way is meaningful for you, do it. Your future self will thank you.

So back to last year.

The process of writing Bloom took four years, the time it would take to get another college degree. So not only was it the launch of the book itself, it marked the end of my first major writing project. Yes launching a book is “marking the moment.” The launch party we held was also meaningful. But I didn’t personally bring those chapters to an end before I blazed into the next one.

The day that I launched Bloom Book 3, I also finished teaching at a local homeschool co-op. It was my first year of teaching and I had such a great experience working with juniors and seniors on their writing abilities. The day after I finished teaching and launching the book, I started working with my husband in an office job, not related to writing. I had worked with him a few years prior, so while the job wasn’t entirely new, it was still going to be a big transition because at least for the first month, the job would be full time.

Marking milestones in a pandemic

In the week leading up to these transitions, some big emotional things were happening within my circle. While I wasn’t involved personally, I was affected deeply by the situations that were transpiring.

End of one job. End of huge writing project. Start of new job. Emotional aftermath. All of this resulted in way too much to process. And it sucked.

I gave the example in my Insta stories last week of laying a path with paving stones. To build a functioning path, all the pieces need to lay next to each other, not on top of each other. In my heart and mind, it felt like all these pieces were piling up, creating an unsteady tower rather than a functioning path. Much like a path leads us forward to a new location, I needed a path to walk on through these transitions, but I didn’t have one.

I hadn’t marked my milestones.

As with most things, time helped unkink the knots in my heart and mind and I was able to move forward. But those lessons came up again as I celebrated my 30th birthday in quarantine (with an amazing birthday caravan!) and wrapped up my final year of teaching in the midst of the pandemic, separated from physically being with my students. This time, I’m not neglecting to mark the end of one chapter before I move onto the next.

Marking milestones in a pandemic
Chai latte + reading in the park after my last day of school.
Socially distanced of course!

You are probably facing a lot of missed milestones as well or at least ones that will unfold in an unorthodox manner. I would again encourage you to find some way to mark them! It may not seem like it matters now, but it will matter further on down the road. I’m not the first one to point out that celebrating milestones and cultural rituals affirm our sense of community, aid with transitions, and provide structure in a hectic world. I’m just adding my voice to the chorus that, yes, it matters. Endings and transitions do matter, even in the midst of a global pandemic.

I want to hear from you now. What milestones are you celebrating this month or have celebrated in quarantine, and what unique ways have you celebrated them?