Anniversaries have a way of making you reflect on both the good and the bad of the past.
Maybe that is why we recognize those important dates. A moment to remember all the good that has happened and to celebrate getting through all the bad. As we come up on almost a year since COVID-19 turned our world upside down, this anniversary is no different. A whole year. We had no idea what was ahead of us. This time last year, I had just got back from Canada and I had big plans for my year ahead. While I was in a rush to get to the “next big thing,” the world was about to be put on a hard pause.
I was sent home from work on Friday, March 13. Yup, Friday the 13th… the irony of the date is not lost on me. March, at the time, seemed like such an unknown of what was happening and what we were going to do. All we could do was just wait and see. In my mind, I thought it wouldn’t be more than two weeks. Others seemed to think it would be longer because people went to EXTREMES and bought everything in the store. (Why toilet paper? I still don’t get why that was the hot ticket item. I guess you don’t want to be caught without any though.)
My husband was sent home the following week. We really couldn’t wrap our mind around what was happening. Instead of watching the news and worrying ourselves to madness, we went the entertainment route.
We passed the time with Love is Blind at first. Jessica was a whole bag of coconuts… wow. I mean I would say most of those people were a little, what’s a nice word? Eccentric. Lauren and Cameron fo-eva though! As if that wasn’t mind-numbing enough, we made our way right on to Tiger King. Carol Baskin, y’all! That show was truly a trainwreck I could not look away from. Just when you thought it couldn’t get weirder, well here comes another exotic animal hero, ready to claim the royal title of “Tiger King.” It was definitely a distraction.
Two weeks turned into a month with no real end in sight. We felt like we should be doing something to help our community but knew there was little we could do but stay as safe as possible. We ordered pick-up from local restaurants and our favorite small businesses trying to stay afloat. Safely. From a distance.
As time passed, and places like New York were hit so hard, I knew this wasn’t going to be over anytime soon. As we tried to adapt to working remotely and the continual changes being thrown at us almost daily, the pandemic surged on.
We had (in no particular order) murder hornets, racial injustice protests, the Royal Family drama (Megxit), that out-of-this-world UFO nonsense (pun intended), Taylor Swift gracing us with not one but two phenomenal albums, massive fires all over (including here), insurrection at the Capitol, Kanye thinking it would be a good idea to try and run for President, Kim said “no thanks” and peaced out of that marriage, countless conspiracy theories, Chris Evans “accidentally” shared his d*ck pic with the world, cakes fooling us into thinking something was real when it was a cake, Bridgerton (AKA the Duke) — and honestly probably about 4,850,947,584,039 more things I don’t remember.
After everything that was thrown at us this year, we are still learning how to move forward into a new normal.
No One Is The Same But We All Want Sanity
The thing about this year is even though we all experienced this global pandemic, not one person’s experience is going to look like another’s. Life in this last year will look different for so many reasons — your job, if you have children, where you live, people you lost, or even losing your hope for what you thought the year would be.
As some states went back to work and back to a new “normal” rather quickly, a lot of places, Oregon included, continued to stay shut down. Parents struggled to balance work and virtual school and holding on to some semblance of sanity. Perhaps, that is true for all of us. We are all just trying to hold on to some sort of normalcy and find footing in this new way of life. It is hard to heal or move forward into a new reality when you don’t know what you’re walking into. What I do know is life will look different for all of us moving forward.
Pandemic Anxiety Is Real
Even fully vaccinated, I have anxiety about traveling. I haven’t left my house much this year and I haven’t left my city. In the previous year I think I was out of state 6 times. (Yes, the MAJORITY of those times were in Disney… WHAT ABOUT IT, SUSAN?!) I have anxiety that I am doing something wrong; that I shouldn’t go out and try to get back to normal.
Maybe it is the idea of trying to find normal again, and seeing it nowhere in sight. That life is different now. People are different. Searching for something that isn’t there anymore is a game no one wins at. Distraction and doubt is the thief of confidence in your present and hope for your future… even if we are on plan b, c, d, etc.
Social Media Is Not The Whole Picture
Our society has such a way of tearing people down when they know nothing of their life or the FACTS of the situation.It is truly disgusting. It is exhausting to see and worse when you experience it.
There is one thing that is for certain: no one knows your life better than YOU. No one knows what is best for you better than you. And despite what people think they know from little snippets of social media, they do not, and will not ever know the whole story. Your story. You are the writer of your life, not them. The tip of the day is “never assume someone else’s experience has been easier than yours.” While I have been extremely lucky in this last year in so many ways, this year has been hard for me too.
At the end of the day, I am trying my best. We are all trying our best. As we navigate these uncharted territories, have grace, patience, compassion, humility and respect for yourself. Even more so, have those same attributes for others and their journey. You don’t know what they have walked through to get where they are now or the weight of what they carry.
I will stop rambling and leave you with a quote by Dave Hollis that has really stuck with me.
“In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.”
Cheers to surviving and thriving.