I can’t seem to write 2021.
Every time I’m asked for a date, I find myself thinking this is 2012. I always catch myself, but this anomaly doesn’t really surprise me. I’m sure it’s not as much a desire to time travel back nine years as it is to pretend this past year didn’t happen. I transform a few numbers and erase a year of hanging around the house figuring out how best to use Instacart, Facebook Portal, and Zoom.
But 2020/21 did happen, didn’t it? For each and every one of us.
I’ve been thinking about the past year a lot this week. Tomorrow I can metaphorically wave my “get-out-of-jail-free” card and start doing ordinary things. Like going to the grocery store. I haven’t been inside Publix or Costco for a year, but tomorrow I’ll feel safe there. I haven’t been in a restaurant either, but tomorrow I’ll be visiting two of my favorite to celebrate. One, for breakfast, with my husband and one, for dinner, with two couples who also can wave their cards. I’ll wear my homemade mask and socially distance, but I won’t be anxious. That will be new.
We made it. We didn’t—to our knowledge—catch the dreaded virus. We did, despite obstacles at every turn, manage to get our vaccines and survive the waiting period.
The last twelve months have pulsated with highlights, both negative and a few positives.
Positive: After a gazillion years of marriage, four children and two demanding careers, my husband and and I could still spend a year in the closest proximity enjoying each others’ company. We could take up gin rummy after dozens of years away from it and make playing in the afternoons something to look forward to. We could carve out safe walks in our area, usually capped off with safely procured food, and find new things to see along the way. We renewed our gardening hobby by growing vegetables and herbs on our lanai. We cooked constantly, trying new recipes and enjoying occasional takeout meals. We have the extra pounds to prove it.
Negative: We couldn’t see our children or grandchildren. When we did see two sons briefly over Thanksgiving, all of us worried that despite every possible precaution, we might infect each other. We didn’t, but the worry was there. Another son contracted Covid and we waited and worried while he quarantined far away with his wife and his two young sons. His case was a mild one, but that was the verdict, not the diagnosis. We thought about him every hour.
Positive: We read many more books than usual, and found wonderful new series on television to entertain ourselves. We didn’t feel rushed anymore. With no place to go we were able to take stock of our lives and do everything at a slower pace. Smaller worries seemed to recede into the background because Covid put everything into perspective. I worked on a new book at my own pace and enjoyed being at the computer.
Negative: We lost so many friends this year it’s hard to wrap our minds and hearts around the loss. Some died because they had lived long, full lives and it was time. We couldn’t go to their memorial services or share songs, prayers and reminiscences with their families. Some died because they couldn’t escape the virus. When we venture out the world will look very different. And not for the better.
What a year it was. Our family came through it safely, and if you’re reading this, so have you. My hope is that the experience will make us kinder, more thoughtful, and more compassionate. We’ll be able to relate better to those who still suffer, and find ways to reach out to them.
That’s me being positive again.
Thoughts on your year? Positives and negatives? Please share if you’d like.