Written by Annie Laskey, Events Director, Pasadena Senior Center
“Are we there yet?” “Are we there yet??” “Are we there yet?!!!” The classic question asked a million times over by countless kids in the back seats of station wagons on cross country trips, is now the plaintive cry of everyone, no matter what their age.
Are we there yet? I suppose the answer to the question depends where (or what) “there” is. For purposes of something (anything!) to celebrate, let’s say that “there” is 2021. Yes, we have indeed arrived at the New Year, with bells ringing and fireworks exploding all over the world to show our collective joy in bidding good riddance to 2020. Despite the nonstop drumbeat of dreadful news, turning the calendar page to January 2021 gave a little boost of brightness and hope. THIS year will be better! THIS year, we will be able to hug family and friends! But as we know, throwing 2020 calendars out the window didn’t close the door on COVID, political chaos, or world crisis. A return to life as we knew it is the “there” we can’t wait to get to.
Of course, if I wanted to be picky I could point out that we never can be “there.” We can only be “here.” Just like tomorrow is always a day away (as Little Orphan Annie sang into infinity in the 1970s and 80s), “there” is always someplace else, while “here” is always where we are. So, where are we?
If you’re reading this, you’ve come through at least ten months of isolation with enough energy to click through the link to this blog. That’s something, anyway, isn’t it? You’re still engaged with people and places, connected to the Pasadena Senior Center, and probably to many other cultural, social, and wellness organizations through the miracle of the internet. Despite – or because of – the isolation, we’re finding new ways to connect and to find hope and friendship in the “here” as well as the “there.”
My dad will turn 93 on January 6. He’s still healthy and active, and he’s unbelievably irritated that he won’t be able to celebrate at the local pub like he did last year. But he’s not letting himself get caught up in continually asking “are we there yet?” He’s working as best he can to make the here and now fun and interesting.
One of the ways that Dad and I mark the “here” is to dress for dinner every night (yes, shoes and everything!), and sit down to a nice meal. Before we start eating, we raise our glasses in a toast to the passage of another day. We mark one more day successfully navigated, and as Dad says, “one day closer to the end of the pandemic.” We don’t know how much longer we’ll be sharing these dinners for two - it may be two months or a dozen months. But no matter how far in the future normal is, each day unquestionably brings us one day closer to making “there” “here.” So raise a glass to it!