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  • debhopper

Girl, Put Your Jewelry On

It’s been over two years since the pandemic changed our world.

For most of us, we’ve forged ahead in small and big ways with new normals. But I don’t think anyone will forget how things changed almost overnight during that week in March 2020. Teleworking took a sharp turn from moderately used to widely accepted. Restaurants learned they had to master take-out and delivery services in order to survive. QR codes became a new way to view anything instead of printing it. Streaming services became our primary source for music and movies. Zoom took over our in-person meetings and created the illusion of connection while we still fought the fears of loneliness. Lives were lost which had the greatest impact on many of our lives, and all of us were forced to adapt to the incremental changes.

We know from history it is normal for humans to adapt. My mother was part of the post-depression era and I used to think it odd how she saved scraps of aluminum foil. Not large sheets barely used, but every small square of aluminum foil was folded and kept in a kitchen drawer to be used over and over again. She had learned to save and be thrifty during years of lack and need,

Masked and not made up

A subtle change from our global pandemic that impacted women was mask wearing. I don’t know about you, but since we were staying home more in 2020-21 and wearing masks when we did go out, I quit wearing earrings and some make-up. I remember trying to wear earrings a few times while putting masks on and off, but since I wear clips I kept losing them. Lipstick was difficult to keep on the lips and not on the masks, so I slowly began using it less and less. One research firm, IRI, reported that lipstick sales were down $40 million in April 2021 even as social interactions went back up. Maybe it was the increased time at home or decrease in our travel and entertainment, but I also stopped wearing jewelry of any kind. Slowly though, as time passed, I began to notice girlfriends wearing earrings or jewelry and thinking “Something looks different about her. She looks happy.” At about the same time, I realized how much I missed the lift in my reflection when I added a little color or took extra time to highlight an area of my face. I’ve always been a minimalist make-up girl but suddenly found myself looking a little ghostly in photos.

Look around, look around

As we were preparing for our big trip to the UK this summer, I made a quiet and inward decision.

I planned to wear makeup and jewelry every day of the trip. I wanted to enjoy every moment but also wanted to appreciate the abundance of this gift by staying fully alive. The lyrics from this Hamilton song kept running in my head as I planned and packed:

Look around, look around at how lucky we are

To be alive right now

Look at where you are

Look at where you started

The fact you’re alive is a miracle

Just stay alive, that would be enough

Maybe it’s not jewelry or makeup for you. Maybe there’s another area where you’ve regressed or settled after the last couple of hard years. Is it not going on airplanes? Watching movies only at home? Church online instead of with a community? Whatever it is, let me encourage you to step back into staying alive. I’m ever grateful to my friend Kay, who gave me these earrings before our trip. She didn’t know about my decision to start living more fully each day, but you can be sure I sent her this photo when God reminded me about the subtle influence her gift had on my pledging to be fully alive. Grab a friend by the hand and let’s sing like the sisters in the musical: “Look around, look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now!”

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