The last time I wrote anything for the blog, it was my birthday. Last year. Today that seems so long ago I almost can’t remember it, yet in past years it often seemed to come around again in the blink of an eye. Event after event, piling up in quick succession, each one here seemingly before the last one was finished. Wow, what a difference a pandemic makes.
This year has moved much more slowly. The days are so similar that there’s little to distinguish them from each other. I do realize that my experience of this year has been different from so many others, and I understand and acknowledge that I’m in a much more privileged position than many.
My oldest son can’t stay at home – his job requires his presence among members of the public. He had no choice except to show up every day and hope he didn’t get sick, or bring sickness home to his wife. He isolated himself from everyone else and anxiously hoped for the best. My younger son was furloughed from his job, but luckily, he could come home to live while he waited out the down time. Parents struggled with school, families tried to figure out how to live on unemployment payments, if they could get them, or how to pay the bills without them. Too many people were cut off from loved ones at a difficult time. The list, which you know as well as I do, goes on and on. We sat and watched, helplessly, as people died.
For me, outside of the fear and anxiety, something else happened. An hour per day spent commuting became a few steps to and from the home office. Time spent at leisurely shopping and errands became working out how to get the essentials without leaving home. I stopped wearing makeup, stopped dressing for the office. No more going out for dinner and a movie every now and again, no more seeing friends and family, or weekends away. I started baking bread again, started taking walks twice or three times a day. I worked on a new hobby that I started before Covid. The rhythm of the days changed, slowed, and became comforting amid the chaos. As we learned more, understood how to try to stay well, the worry diminished a bit, and the waiting began.
Now it seems that the waiting may be coming to an end. We’re getting vaccinated, slowly but surely. There is much work to do, but the sun is coming out, and this spring carries with it the usual promise of new beginnings. If…
There’s talk of going back to the office later this year. There’s talk of my son going back to work in September. There’s talk of going back to in-person socializing. There’s talk of life going “back to normal”. But I wonder if I want that to happen for me. Do I want to go back to the way things were, or maybe hang onto some of the changes we made over the last year?
Maybe instead of the old normal, we could step out of what was normal and keep some of the slower, more deliberate pace. Maybe we could think about whether we really need that new outfit, do we really want to go to that party, is it really necessary to meet the client face-to-face? Or would we rather sit outside with a friend or partner and watch the sun go down? Would it be nice to spend the evening with loved ones instead of a crowd of strangers? (I may never want to do that again!)
For me, the answer is pretty clear. I think more extended family time sounds really good, and more time with dear friends, and I think that a Friday night of Netflix and knit (still) sounds great. Again. I hope you find your normal again, in whatever form works best for YOU!