I have every reason not to enjoy Eid this year.
I have every reason to sulk in my feelings and dwell on not spending Eid the way I had hoped for the third time since the pandemic started.
I haven’t seen my family in over a year, and Eid only heightens the longing and the yearning. I am on call on the very first day of Eid—I haven’t even bothered to swap it, and I mean, how sad is that? We are still kind of in a lockdown, so the walls that have harbored me for the past year are as sick of me as I am of them. The sun hasn’t made an appearance in a very long time. (I mean, this is England, so why would it?) So a vitamin D deficiency coupled with brittle bones and an unhappy waist is not doing much for the ego, either.
Except of all Eids, this is the one Eid that needs to be celebrated. Even if you don’t feel like it, even if you have to roll your eyes and huff into your tantrums a thousand times. Of all Eids, this is the one that must not be missed.
It has been a very long year. That is no new news to any of us—we have all had a version of this year that deserves a standing ovation in the ceremony of endurance. Some of us have been stranded away from their loved ones for longer than they have signed up for, some have lost loved ones, some have ended up with broken families, some have lost jobs and are struggling to find the motive to fight. Every evening, the newscast breaks the record of yet another natural disaster or a war crime before you wake up to the same headlines that possess you and make you question everything all over again. There is no question that the desire to even get out of bed has been perched on its edge.
But if I have learned anything at all this year, it is that we must seize the moment, no matter what this seizing entails, no matter how minute or gigantic the seizing is, we must try to live. To be alive. To feel alive.
And by that I don’t mean you have to be elated around the hour. I don’t mean you have to mask your sadness and brokenness. I mean you stop waiting for it to pass.
You don’t have to be or feel or do one thing or the other. You don’t have to let one feeling take control; you can still feel sad about one thing but you can still try to get up that morning. You can feel helpless one evening, but you can still play your favorite Netflix show for the third time that day. You can recognize the void, but a late night drive and a McFlurry at midnight does wonders for the soul. And even if you feel scared and damaged, you are allowed to laugh at their jokes, and you can text back, even if it’s a semicolon and a right parenthesis. You don’t have to think or plan very far, just turn the moment into more than one thing.
So seize the moment. Stop waiting for all of this to pass. Acknowledge it, then find a minute to look up and try to fit it all together. Even if you’re sad, even if it doesn’t make sense, even if it hurts and even if it halts your breath mid sentence. The tears and the laughs and the jokes and the pain, it can all fit together. I promise. You just need to let it. Even if they call you crazy—crazy is thinking this isn’t possible.
I love Eid. And Eid doesn’t really come with a tree or a set of lights that can dangle in any room and cuddle you up in its sentiment no matter where you are. It’s just a feeling that encircles you. I miss my nephews and nieces, and I wish more than anything that I could be surrounded by their chitter chatter, waking me up at dawn so we can make it to the morning Eid prayer.
But this Eid will be different, and I want it to be. No matter the circumstances, I have my Eid outfit all planned out. On call or not, I plan to bake Eid cookies, perhaps even go the extra mile and decorate them with chocolate frosting. I plan to bake the date bread I’ve been craving for the past two months, and I am way too excited about the Eid goodie bags I spent the entire week prepping. I’ll find a way to fill the gaps. I’ll find a way to fit it all together.
Actually, I already have.
So no matter where you are or what you have or who you have (or don’t have), tap on your window, put on a pair of matching new socks, and eat some sugar. Even if it’s for five minutes that day. Seize the moment.
Eid Mubarak to everyone around the world.