We were watching Nacho Libre the other day and one of the most quotable scenes to me is when Nacho is serving everyone old beans for lunch, and someone asks Nacho “What is this? Don’t you know I’ve had diarrhea since Easters?”

This year was odd – I didn’t really think about Easter at all until a few weeks ago. Someone mentioned Easter, and my brain clicked like “Oh yeah, that is a thing that we do.”

Holidays have all been shrouded under the cloud of COVID, but it’s been kind of a nice year for holidays as well. Gatherings are smaller and a bit less stressful. Now that we have a place of our own we even have to run the show from time to time.

Most holidays have a religious context that people either believe or don’t believe in – no real middle ground there. But whether or not you believe, it’s nice to reflect on spending time with family and enjoying it as much as possible regardless of whether there’s special food to be made or gift giving.

Every year my wife and I list out our goals, and one of them that struck me as interesting was my wife wanted to try to eat mindfully. Mindfulness for whatever reason strikes me as abstract for a time until my brain is able to digest it, although it’s a fairly simple concept. We both work from home for the most part, but even pre-COVID it was easy to just shove food down your gullet and consider it fuel whether you’re eating something enjoyable or not. I try to remember this as often as possible nowadays.

Especially days like today when I know my mom is going to make ham and my sister will be cooking up some vegan fare, I will try to remember to stop and think about what I’m eating rather than just shove it down. I’ll think about the animals, the people who picked the vegetables, and how my mom might’ve felt preparing the food. I’ll try to look around the table at my family and consciously enjoy them, and remind myself that this isn’t just an obligatory family meet-up that happens a handful of times a year, but time that we are spending together that we’ll never get back. Time that we’re choosing to spend together as a family. I’ll try to think about my parents growing up and spending Easter together, my grandparents and in-laws around the world.

Lately I’ve found that the most profound moments that I experience are when I stop to take in my surroundings. You don’t have to force yourself to think or feel a certain way. Sometimes just breathing in and feeling the experience in the moment is enough. Whether or not your brain triggers a response to form a lasting memory may or may not happen, and even so memories are only moments that have passed. All we truly have is the moment that we’re in, so today on this holiday – if you celebrate or not – try to pause for one of these moments and let the experience of the moment wash over you.

Happy Easters. Don’t eat too much candy.