I distinctly remember the day that I packed up a laptop, numerous files, office supplies, and anything else I could think of in a rush of adrenaline. It was March 24, 2020, and I had been told I would be working from home until further notice. The offices were closing to the public and minimal staffing across our department had to be scheduled and organized. Covid-19 was on the move across America.
For at least three weeks prior, we had started the process of frequent hand washing and time-consuming attempts to purchase PPE supplies. Post March 24th, it became increasingly obvious that stopping or getting over a pandemic would take time. Some thought by summer or autumn, it would be over, that we would be back to normal. Little did any of us know that we’d still be in a pandemic a year later and how much it would change lives and end lives.
I have been one of the fortunate and remained healthy over the last twelve months. I didn’t lose my job, worry about paying rent or wonder where the next mouthful of food would come from. I was able to save money since I wasn’t going anywhere to unnecessarily spend money. I had the opportunity to retire in September, 2020, which was a no-brainer. Most important, I did not lose a loved one due to the virus. I felt heartsick and prayed for those who did or for those who were suffering long-term effects, and counted my blessings.
The stress I felt through the six months of working at home is gone. Those months are now a blur of Zoom meetings, Zoom interviews (hiring staff), daily reports related to Covid-19, searching for and purchasing costly PPE supplies, checking on the wellness of my staff, weekend visits to the office to pick up mail and more post-it notes, and missing the in-person camaraderie and presence of bosses, peers and others who made the workplace tolerable through the worst of times. During this period, it was nice to be at home in bad weather, have a later wake-up time, and dress inappropriately as long as Zoom didn’t reveal I was still in my pajama bottoms, but I would have traded that in an instant for a non-pandemic environment.
Of course, for those in the U.S., we all suffered the division, indecision and ineptitude that politics created, at the cost of too many lives. It was overwhelming and maddening and took a change in administration to give many of us hope with vaccines and their distribution. The day, month or week that we will reach herd immunity in the U.S. and around the world remains in question, but I hope and pray it comes before the end of 2021.
In some ways, my life changed considerably in the past year, in some ways it was same-old or boring. I have learned to shop online and curbside rather than wandering the stores. I have learned that eating strictly at home has been good for weight loss. I found that I could connect with people from my church online, when we never “talked” that much in person. Natasha and I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas at home rather than with family, sharing a meal and trying to make the holidays different from any other day. I also found that during the winter months, my urge to hibernate was left unchecked and I probably spent too many days propped up on my bed, watching mindless TV or reading another fictional mystery. Gibbs enjoyed that time, snuggling up to me, purring his contentment that the human was joining him in blissful laziness.
If I have to sum up the past year, I would call it unbelievable. If a prophet or seer would have told the world three years ago that a pandemic would overtake the world, most people would not have believed, casting him or her aside as another nut job who thinks the world is on the brink of disaster. Well, it was, and even after the virus was confirmed and people started dying, there were those who didn’t believe or take the pandemic seriously. My roommate, Natasha, and I were among the believers, the OCD believers. We have been card-carrying members of the mask-wearing, social-distancing, hand-washing, disinfect and spray everything, don’t take any chances club. We are around the same age and both retired, which means we’d like to enjoy the rest of our lives and be around twenty years from now. Some may believe we go overboard, but the saying of “better safe than sorry” reverberates in my head. Neither of us know how Covid would affect us and neither wants to find out.
There will be better days ahead and I will practice patience until then – take walks, ride bike, read, write, continue the OCD rituals. Once vaccinated, I’ll start to slowly reintegrate where I feel safe. I haven’t had a massage or stepped inside the locally owned grocery store in months and they may be starting points. Perhaps hitting the drive-through for a chai latte would lift spirits. Most of all, I’m going to connect with friends who have been vaccinated as well and give them great big bear hugs until it hurts. I sorely miss them and their non-masked faces.
The days, weeks, months and year since March 24, 2020, are unbelievable in a way, but terrible reality in truth. None of us have had to deal with the magnitude of a pandemic before, but it is my hope that in the years, decades and centuries to come, no one ever has to again.
Stream of Consciousness Saturday is the brainchild of author Linda G. Hill. Every Friday, Linda provides her followers with an inspiring blogger’s prompt. It can be a word or words and sometimes bonus points are involved (my favorite). Linda asks us to write without editing, other than correcting spelling errors.
Just go with the flow.
Like a babbling brook or rain drops. Click HERE if this type of writing floats your boat or helps with your decision-making. Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “day/week/month/year.” Use one, use them all, use them any way you’d like. Enjoy!