Not sure where I can even start with this one but I’ve known for a while that I wanted to do a year round up for the anniversary of COVID-19 entering our lives for a couple of reasons. 1. I think we can all agree that what we thought would be a small six week blip on the radar has actually turned into something much bigger and 2. to kind of put to bed the documentation of what a crazy year we’ve had. That’s not to say I’m never going to mention it again and the fact that I’ve kind of kept a lockdown diary that people have been relating to has been really cathartic for me. I just hope that as the world starts to open up again a little more, there’s more interesting things to write about! For today though, I’m just going to kind of dump all my feelings in one place and hopefully with a little editing will formulate some kind of sensical post! So, how do I feel about the coronavirus pandemic one year on?
First and foremost, it’s been a year of loss. Some of minor inconvenience like holidays or concert tickets, some more of an economic impact like jobs or of course the tragic loss of life. I cannot imagine how tough this year must have been, added on to the regular ‘oh shit, we’re in a pandemic’ worry, to have lost your job, your income or a loved one and I’m humbled and grateful for the things I’m lucky enough to have.
For me personally, and I’m sure many other people it’s been very up and down. When we were first put into lockdown last March I was very on edge and uncomfortable. I’m a creature of habit and routine, and much as I was no stranger to working from home, the fact that we had to work from home, together for a finite length of time was unsettling. We had no good work space and were sharing the dining room table, and there were no real answers as to how long this would last. At the time I worked in an engagement role, how on earth was I going to maintain my contacts and productivity, when everyone had other things on their mind? I was the last person they would want to be hearing from in the middle of a global pandemic. I always felt much better when time frames were set out, whether by the government, or my employer; it made me relax a little bit. I dunno, I guess I just like to know where I stand.
One of the biggest surprises for me was how well I adapted over all though. If you’d told me hypothetically that pubs and restaurants would be shut for most of the year, and I wouldn’t be able to see my family and friends, I probably would have predicted an almighty meltdown; on paper that sounds like my worse nightmare. However what I’ve gained this year is more time with myself. I was certainly guilty of burning the candle at both ends most weekends, or planning quiet nights in that never happened because something would come up. Last summer particularly, when we had the good whether, chilling in the garden with Dave, eating ham and cheese toasties and drinking margaritas was heaven. I know that’s not everyone’s experience though and I know how lucky I am to have had someone to get through this with.
I definitely feel like I’ve lost a bit of my spark whilst being in lockdown. I’m an extrovert in the truest sense; I vibe off other people and being around others is how I get my energy, so without being able to do that, I definitely feel like I’ve lost a bit of my self. And I’ve definitely lost friends this past year, or at least people I thought were friends. People I feel like I’ve made an effort to stay in touch with or check in on, and it’s not been reciprocated, which sucks. I guess, understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on.
Of course not everyone has handled the situation as gracefully as others and if you’ve taken more than a sideways glance at Twitter over the past year you’ll know exactly what I mean. A lot has happened societally and politically over the last year. Our collective hopelessness and the fact we’ve all felt locked up and unable to navigate our feelings via office/pub/neighbour/family chats face to face means people have taken to the internet, where you can’t articulate yourself properly and things can be taken out of context. And it’s fanned the flames. It’s certainly shown me a side of people I was once close to or at least respected, that I’m not mad keen on. They’re people I’m going to be distancing myself from in future.
But I don’t really want to dwell too much on the negative, there is light at the end of the tunnel I can’t allow myself to believe that this has all been for nothing. In many ways it’s brought me way closer to some people, my mum in particular. Not that we weren’t close to begin with but we bickered a lot because we’re so similar. So I hope that when we’re allowed to see each other properly again I can bite my tongue, squash any potential bickers and remember how much I missed her this past year.
Working from home has made me weirdly house proud. When you’re out in an office 9 hours a day, you don’t care too much that the kitchen needs a clean or you haven’t put your clothes away, because you don’t have to look at it that much. We did a bit of redecorating in lockdown and I’m a lot tidier than I used to be. I hope that’s something I continue.
In terms of the future, I’m really looking forward to just starting small for now. Local pubs, BBQs in back gardens, and holidays, oh my lord do I want to go on holiday. Some cute Greek resort where there’s one main street full of bars and restaurants and all the owners are trying to get you in to their place sounds pretty perfect to me right now. Something to hope for for early September time I think.
So whilst it’s been a year of loss, bereavement, hopelessness and desperation, it’s also been a year of growth, resilience , reflection and hope 🙂
And of course, the unsung hero, as always is Dave, because anyone who can be around me 24 hours a day and keep my white wine levels topped up for over a year deserves a knighthood!