It’s Been a Year

March 29, 2021

Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

It’s been about a year since the COVID-19 pandemic upended our lives. And it’s also been a year, if you know what I mean. In addition to a pandemic, so many other awful things happened—or were revealed—during 2020. I’ve been trying to come up with some thoughts to mark the occasion, but the document for this post has been open on my computer for two weeks! The Year That Must Not Be Named has left me speechless.

Well, almost. Here are a few thoughts…

Surviving, not thriving

Most of us have experienced a year of isolation, confusion, frustration, fear, and sorrow. But if we’ve been lucky, it’s also been a year of small pleasures, slowing down, and deep thankfulness. Pretty much the same as any year, but much more intense. Anyone who lived through 2020 has likely been changed forever in some way. Think about what you were looking forward to at the start of last year, the things that took up much of your attention. How have they changed? What has become more important to you, or less so?

I’m disappointed that I didn’t produce any brilliant work, make sourdough bread, or learn a new skill (I did complete a year of French practice on Duolingo. Je regrette to say I’m nowhere near being skillful, let alone fluent). But I did keep our household stocked with food and other essentials (including toilet paper) and we all survived, even my husband who actually had COVID. For me, 2020 was about surviving. Some seasons of life are just about surviving, and perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by that. 2021 has not been much different yet, but there are signs that things are slowly changing.

A shot in the arm

Last week I got my first dose of vaccine against COVID. My planner is starting to fill up again, with a haircut here, and an outdoors coffee date there. I’m taking a Florida road trip with my friend Kerri. And while I haven’t reserved the ticket yet, I’m tentatively planning a trip to visit my mom in California sometime later this year. Provided it seems relatively safe to do so.

And while last year was mostly a long, slow nightmare, no experience is wasted—even the pandemic ones. As we stumble toward a new normal (should we call it “nermal” with apologies to Garfield cartoonist Jim Davis?), ask yourself, “What have I learned about myself this past year? How has it changed me? Have I made changes I want to bring forward into the future? 

I still feel like I’m picking up the pieces of my life and trying to fit them into a new pattern. Nothing gets put back in without scrutiny. Does it belong here? Or here? Or maybe it doesn’t fit at all anymore. This is going to take some time.

I hope that 2020 brought you some gifts along with all its trauma. I hope that 2021 is objectively a much more positive year. I hope that we don’t forget how at the beginning of all this, we tried so hard to be positive and help each other.

That’s what I’d like to see carry over into the future.  

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