Last March I wrote two posts about “the coronavirus”. I wrote one on March 8th and one on March 13th. In those weeks (read days) the situation rapidly evolved. It went from “be cautious” to “Hi yes, we’re closing schools effective Monday” in a matter of days. Looking back at those posts, I realize I was the most focused on the immediate term. My biggest concern was avoiding COVID-19, staying informed, and doing my part to curb the case count. At the time, I hadn’t a clue that this would change the rest of the year and beyond. In fact, if you had told me then, that in March of 2021 I still wouldn’t have set foot at work in person I probably wouldn’t have believed you.
Yet here we are. A year removed from Governor Herbert’s address closing non-essential business and state services like libraries and parks, we are living a new normal. For some people, the past 12 months have been some of the worst days of their lives. Maybe they lost their job or felt compelled to leave the workforce to care for their children *cough* women *cough*. Maybe they lost a loved one like I did. Perhaps they’re experiencing long term impacts from a previous COVID-19 infection like several of my friends are. Some now have strained relationships with their families due to varying degrees of compliance with COVID restrictions. Some had to find out they lost a pregnancy without their partner because they weren’t allowed inside. In some cases, parents on the brink, working from home with virtually schooled children. Teachers are exhausted, burned out, and fatigued from Zoom and learning to teach kindergartners through the internet.
If we’re competing in the COVID Hardship olympics, I feel so fortunate to be bringing up the rear. Corey and I maintained our jobs. Clara’s school didn’t have to close down. I had an uncomplicated and oddly peaceful birth experience. In some ways, my extended family actually grew closer, seems how basically the only fun thing we could do was hang out in my mom’s backyard. In an election year, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time learning about the candidates and getting informed on the social issue that were important to me. Corey and I used the uncertainty of the economy as an opportunity to examine our finances and make some good choices to help us remain stable, even if the worst should happen. The last 12 months helped me see what was important, and I recenter my life around those things.
But also, it has been hard. It’s exhausting to be constantly worried you could be the one who give COVID to your medically fragile family member if you choose to spend time together. I’ve had family relationships severely strained over some mismatched ideals, which is heartbreaking. I miss going to work and going out to lunch without being scared of getting sick. I miss smiling at strangers as we pass each other. My anxiety has is at an all time high. My weight is too. I start virtually every sentence with “when all this is over…” not really knowing if it will ever be over.
I’m planning the coming months cautiously, but I have birthdays to schedule and vacations to plan. Life won’t wait for the pandemic to end. I felt, in the last year, like life was both paused and carrying on. So we’ve figured out how to make it work. We haven’t really had a choice, have we?
Hopefully next year I’ll be able to read this post again and think about how different things look. Hopefully.