There’s no word yet that means “everything that happened between March 2020 and now.” 

The original “2020” doesn’t really work anymore, seeing as how we are now halfway through 2021. But “pandemic” doesn’t capture all of it, either. While it could be argued that all roads lead back to COVID-19, it just feels like it leaves so much out. The Black Lives Matter protests, the U.S. election, the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the economic roller coaster, the mass shootings. 

It would be too much to ask one word to carry all of that for us. There’s just too much pain.

June is National Candy Month, though, so allow us to make a proposal: This year, go all out. 

Sure, on the surface, it might not feel like there’s much to celebrate. I know, personally, life still feels a little blurry and I’m worried that if I start to allow myself to believe that all the trauma is finally coming to a close, it will jinx it somehow. 

But, if we have learned anything since March 2020, it’s that candy is always the rich decision. And worst-case scenario, we find out that jinxes are real, and we instead use all the candy we got to comfort ourselves.

Best-case scenario, we rightfully mark the end of one long nightmare.

If you had asked me in 2018 how the candy industry would survive COVID-19, I would have asked you what COVID-19 was. And when you told me it was a global pandemic, I would have probably asked you what the difference between a pandemic and epidemic was again. And when you explained that, I probably would have said that while I hoped the candy industry would be OK, there’s no way to really know. There’s just not much historical precedent to look to for that kind of thing. 

Well, now we know. For the most part, the candy industry has survived a global pandemic pretty well. It turns out, even if people never leave the house, they still find ways to buy chocolate. 

Beyond the relief that comes from finally seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, there are so many small things to celebrate during National Candy Month. All the little things we took for granted in the “before times,” as in the “before March 2020” times. Things like being required to wear dress pants, sitting in middle seats on airplanes, long waits at restaurants, getting a shot at the doctor, visiting our in-laws, crowded grocery stores, strangers being able to tell you if you have lipstick on your teeth, and even sleeping on uncomfortable hotel beds. 

Suddenly, every single one is reason enough to eat candy with glee. So I encourage everyone to reach for sweets this month, and to also share them with all the people you finally get to see in-person again — even the ones you thought you never wanted to see again.

After all, it’s not just National Candy Month. It’s 2021’s National Candy Month. There’s never been another one like it.