I published this in early January. The post was too sweet. 2020 was not a sweet year. It was a year in a century. It was a year of anger, catharsis, change, divisions, unbelievable crap. I mean, seriously, we’re in pandemic run wild, with no brakes on. I am angry and sad at not being able to hug friends and family, freely travel, going to a restaurant, concert or event. I’m angry that I get angry when I’m in a public place an someone just won’t wear their mask properly.
As a biologist, with a big contingency of medical profession relatives and a friend who loves teaching her graduate level course in infectious disease, the fact we are where we are today and how much longer this will go on (we’ll be lucky if the pandemic is behind us next winter), is no surprise to me. If only we’d actually taken this seriously as a society from the start. We’d have lost MANY fewer people, MANY fewer lives upended. I think my hubbie and I are pretty healthy, but we’re of an age to be concerned, and no one really understands yet why some do better than others against COVID-19, so it’s not worth the risk. It’s a crap shoot. and then there’s the issue of, if you get it and survive, will it continue to linger, affect you, possibly recur (like shingles from chicken pox)? BTW, I get shingles outbreaks, and I’ve had both sets of vaccine, so am glad they damped down the episodes.
What I wanted to communicate in this blog is more about – How do you cope with this, really? I mean, honestly, I’m pretty PO’d that our much anticipated trip to see the southern beech in its autumn color was cancelled. Given the current state of COVID-19 mutation, who knows when we can go to Argentina again? We had a family trip planned this June where we’d see family not seen for years PLUS a side trip to Yosemite (1st time for me). We had a son graduate from a medical program – no ceremony. I was fearful of visiting our other children due to COVID, because, who knows how I’d respond to it, and bring it home to my husband? Crap shoot. My son and I were planning for me to visit them in Chicago in April or May, but that was shut down with lockdowns.
My choir director developed, in concert with us, a singer’s mask. This allowed a limited number of us to sing in services – masked and miked. As COVID fatigue set in and people started being a little more lax, I quit doing singing just before the holidays, just in case.
How do you proceed in lockdown mode? How do you stay sane? For me, it went back to being an US Air Force brat, as noted in the original post below. You find ways to keep yourself busy and occupied in the midst of a new situation. I was pretty good at that. We moved every one or two years, I cried for two weeks very time, then put on my big girl pants and faced the new world I lived in. That’s 2020 in a nutshell. You cry at first at the sheer insanity of how medical science is being sidelined in the public arena, then you gotta wear your big girl pants, and smile. I mean, if you go to a doctor and get an antibiotic prescription and take it, how do you not make the simple leap that you should listen to our medical experts on how to tamp down this contagion?!?
So, how did I cope with 2020, the First Year of COVID-19? Exactly that way, I coped. by doing what I learned as a kid, by keeping myself busy, resting, crying when needed, taking on tasks left by the wayside, finishing little things, keeping in touch with special family and friends. I mean, the same as all of us.
I’m hopeful for 2021. Ron and I will (fingers crossed) get our second COVID vaccination in 10 days. Then a week for it to “set”. Then, while we could still carry it and would need to wear masks, we’re unlikely to get it. We can visit family and friends, go places, LIVE A NORMAL LIFE. This October will be a special anniversary for us, so hoping we can travel to a special place for it.
The original post:
Like you, we’ve been living in our own cocooned island this year. For me it was a quiet start to the year, I hadn’t been traveling much for work, a pleasant respite from regular comings and goings. I had a late January business trip to Richmond, VA and was able to stay a few days and visit nearly all of my family who, as it happens, live in and around the area. It was really nice. Looking back the timing was perfect, just before the pandemic took hold here in the US. I’m so glad I got to see everyone, if only for a short time.
Here in Orlando we hunkered down this spring and have pretty much been that way ever since. New routines, new habits, renewal of old habits, life in our bubble.
Finishing old projects! I pulled the sewing machine out of the closet and notions from various hidey holes and started sewing again. bought this quilt top at a thrift shop >20 years ago for $20, had it quilted about 15 years ago and have been using it ever since raw edges and all. It took the pandemic for me to pull the few hours together to bind the edges and finally complete it. Done! Imagine how many more years it would have been if I’d actually pieced the top too.
Learning new skills! I took 2 weaving workshops and participated in 2 “weavealongs” to learn new techniques. One workshop (parallel threading) and one weavealong (color and overshot) were especially, what’s the right word? Remarkable, Illuminating, Cool, Awesome, Wow? All of the above.
Reclaiming old skills. Sewing masks for family – old skill renewed. On a more day-to-day basis I reclaimed my gardening skills. I’ve gotten on a roll with converting parts of the yard to native plants – shrubs, grasses, flowers and a few small trees. Adding in some herbs and vegies too.
Occasional forays into the world. I visited my daughter and her family in August. It was lovely to see them, hug the girls and just be part of their active orbit for awhile. Ron and I, traveling cautiously, flew to Salt Lake and then headed to Great Basin National Park, in remote east-central Nevada, the least visited of NPs. It was a beautiful place and we were lucky enough to catch fall colors at their most beautiful.
Old habits return. I grew up as a US Air Force brat, moving every 1-2 years, typically moving in the summers. Those summers were quiet and introspective. These times feel similar – introspection and independence. It helped prepare me for this pandemic year.
Things missed. Seeing my son and his bride, who live in Chicago. Enjoying time with them as they await their first child (granddaughter #3!). My springtime trip to visit them was derailed by the pandemic. Seeing and hugging my grandkids more often. Singing with my choirs. Our planned vacation to see southern beeches in the autumn in Argentina and a planned trip to northern CA, including finally making it to Yosemite; both to be rescheduled.
And Reading and Streaming….. Normally I read mostly fiction, but have made some inroads into writings on history, travel and creative process. and Like most of us, we’ve been taking advantage of streaming services.
I’m hopeful for 2021, although major parts of it only 11 days in, have been extremely challenging. The events of the last week and prospects for the next two are still too raw to talk about here, but I am seriously glad 2020 is behind us.