How has it been ONE YEAR? Technically in 9 days, but I felt like getting all of this out NOW, today, I had to write. I have not written anything in a year as well. A correlation maybe?
Life has been drastically changed by something which was only imagined in movies and books. But it happened. A global pandemic which has taken the lives of over 500,000 people and almost 30 MILLION people were infected in the United States alone. WHAT. THE. F&*K.
Our day to day lives now consist of hand sanitizer, masks and social distance. Honestly, I am sure that I have spent hundreds of dollars on masks. In the beginning, it was the run on toilet paper and I still don’t understand that part, but it is a meme that will live on in infamy when talking about 2020. Now it is double masking to actually go in a store or ordering everything for outside pickup or delivery. And if you see someone you know when you actually go in a store, there is that awkward moment when you want to hug them, because you are desperate for human connection . . . you try to bump elbows or lean in oddly before remembering and stepping back. Anyone could be asymptomatic and transfer it without intention. One of my dearest friends gave me the best hand sanitizer which says it all. “I mean . . . I can’t even . . . It’s like . . . Just ugh.”
On Thursday, March 12, 2020, I was out to dinner with my husband and son at Claim Jumper. We had heard about the virus which started out in China and on cruise ships and had hit New York and Washington state, but we were not super concerned. Yet. Then I got a text message from a friend that the schools were going to be closed “early” for spring break, starting on Friday, the 13th. Oh how ominous it was. I ordered a second glass of wine, hopeful that it would just be a long break from school and things would go back to normal ASAP. My son was thrilled because he had no idea what was coming. None of us did. We went to Target after dinner to “stock up on wine” and prepare for what was to come. There is truly not enough wine for what we have all been through.
357 days later, life is definitely not normal. As I write this, my son is inside his Taekwondo studio, in a mask with limited kids and I am sitting in the car because of restrictions. I am so thankful that it is back open; it gives him a much needed break out of the house and allows him to be physical. He has been doing distance learning for a year. A YEAR! Bless all of the educators and administrators out there. They are doing their best to make an impossible situation better. I am thankful that my kiddo is a good student and likes to stay in his PJs all day while being on video calls with his class, but it has not been easy on anyone. I am not built to teach common core long division. Period. Spring break is around the corner, and I am looking forward to a week of no schedules or checking assignments or asking why something did not get submitted and “no, get out of bed while you are on video with your class. Because I said so.”
Anxiety and depression have skyrocketed for many, myself included. The fear of the unknown. “What will the ‘rona do? Will I get it? How bad can it be?” I have a very close family member who had COVID-19 and spent almost a month in the hospital. I cannot express the fear we all felt when she was given a 10% chance of survival. Thankfully she is home and on the mend, but waking up every day and thinking the worst will truly damage your soul. We are much luckier than many. My heart goes out to all those who have lost loved ones. I do feel that we as a country are moving in the right direction and hope that the numbers will go down as the vaccinations are given. But for many, vaccinations are a whole other discussion which I cannot even wrap my head around. All I know is that I am getting mine ASAP. To protect myself and my loved ones. But you do you. No judgement here.
I am an extroverted introvert. I love people on my time; I love being social as long as I can go home and recharge. But my god, I never asked to recharge for this long!!! We love to have parties for any and all occasions. Nope. Not now. Not being able to just hang out is miserable. Zoom and FaceTime are great, but the video fatigue has set in. Human beings crave connection, and it is not the same over a screen. I think we have all spent more time with our immediate families in our homes than many past years combined. Screen time has skyrocketed for all of us; movies, binge watching TV (Tiger King anyone?) and playing games so we don’t have to think that we should just stay home and isolate. Because for so long there was no place to go.
Oh and, did I mention that my husband was laid off in August? 7 months with no major income. I DO NOT RECOMMEND. I work for a small non-profit and my monthly paycheck covers our car payment. I am SO SO SO thankful that we had savings and that my marriage is strong because this was just a wee bit stressful. We are ecstatic that he started a new job this past Monday; we will not have to move in with any of you. But I would like to visit ALL OF YOU!
Another thing I have been struggling with is reaching out to my friends. I have the BEST friends, hands down, and I am so blessed. But do I pick up the phone? No. I know that 100%, I could call any one of them at any time to cry, vent, laugh or share, but I have not wanted to burden them with my issues. Then I feel like a flake because we say “Oh, let’s talk this weekend” and it doesn’t happen. I don’t even return phone calls. 🙁 This on top of not being able to see more people, get together for a play date with our kids or go into my office to work with our full team. It stinks and I am not dealing well with it all. Instead I play a ton of Phase10 on my phone.
One thing which has kept our sanity, somewhat, is the connections we have kept. Close friends live 2 blocks from us and together, we decided that we were in all a “pod” from Day 1. Weekly dinners back and forth, kids being able to play, seeing people that do not share my last name is amazing! As is not having to cook every damn meal. Another saving grace has been amazing friends of ours that bought a travel trailer last year. We were able to spend so many fabulous weekends away with them, while being safe and outside in our trailer. I have another friend who I see for coffee and compassion; she and I share so many similarities in life and her hugs make me feel better. #QuaranteamsfortheWIN
I try to remind myself, there were some great things about 2020:
– In August, we celebrated our 10 year anniversary by renewing our vows in Cabo. Originally we had hoped for many friends and family to join us, but we had a small group of 8 and it was perfect.
– We bought a Peloton bike to attempt to stay in shape. I am not a good “worker outer.” It has never been my thing, ever. But, now that we have had it for a while, I am feeling much stronger and have more endurance. If I don’t get on every day, I feel guilty and miss it. I have successfully developed the habit and will keep going. We are connected with friends and are accountable. My favorite coaches are Robin and Cody, FYI. Love them!
– Daytime and nighttime PJs are a HUGE win in my book.
– We welcomed a new puppy in December; Thor is a black lab, and he is super lovable. Apollo is finally happy with him and we are one big happy two dog family. My house is covered in dog hair, but it’s OK because only my Quaranteam sees it and they love us anyway.
But I digress. I have a lot of feelings right now, but I KNOW things are going to get better. This year has been SO HARD. It is important to remember to give yourself a lot of grace. No one expects perfection or even anything close right now. I am at the point where I consider each day a success if we all go to bed still liking each other, fed and have showered within the last 48 hours.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning how to dance in the rain.” – Vivian Greene
I am doing my best; it may look different every day, but I never stop dancing.