Want to Survive the Winter? Be Taylor Swift

I am political person. I strongly believe in advocating loudly for vulnerable groups and fighting injustice. (I blogged about taking the kids to a Black Lives Matter protest this summer.) For the past year, I used my modest soap box to call attention to groups that are not thriving during this pandemic. School kids, in particular young, disabled, and low-income, are isolated and not educated right now; our country owes these groups buckets of support, once this pandemic passes.

But being angry all the time takes a toll on a person, as does parental stress and the general looming dread that is covering us like a thick layer of snow.

And snow — the real, cold stuff — will be here soon, which will lock us in homes for weeks, just as the pandemic reaches its peak. We’re looking at a possible tsunami of anger, dread, cold weather, and a rising death count.

How does a person survive all that? Well, we all have to be Taylor Swift.

Swift used this pandemic time to release a second album, which is getting good reviews. I guess she’s not touring and not going to award shows, so she’s got some time on her hands, so she’s being creative and making music.

I’ve been doing that, too. Sure, I tweeted out education research and blogged about elections. Last week, I tried — unsuccessfully — to publish an opinion piece calling for disabled kids to get vaccinated first, because they’ve suffered the most by school shutdowns. But I’ve also been doing lots of home-y stuff this year.

Last night, as I scrolled through our yearly pictures to create a late Christmas card, I saw lots of images of dinners, home projects, outdoor hikes, museums, and car trips around the country. There were pictures for my Etsy book website and of backyard gatherings. Selfies on running trails and bike paths. Tomorrow, I’ll take pictures when put up a Christmas tree; it’s a little early for us, but we’re trying to make the most out of Ian’s 10-day COVID exposure quarantine. Scrolling through iPhoto, I realized that we really did thrive this year.

When we walked away from politics, stress, and work, we lived. Hannah Arendt said that we are political animals; we are the most human when we are participating in politics. After months and months of unrelenting politics, I am questioning that notion. I may be most myself, when I’m making a big bowl of pasta.

So, as we enter into a rough time — Ian’s school is closed again — I am determined to continue making things and having fun. Taylor Swift forever!

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