March 13, 2020 is the day I remember to be “the first day of the pandemic”. For the past week or so, I’ve been thinking about how the world started to change on March 10th, 11th, 12th, 2020 and how the world has since changed since those early days in the pandemic. A few memories have popped up on my social media platforms of beginning of pandemic cancelations which has made me feel a mix of nostalgic, sad, and humored by our ignorance to COVID-19.
I’ve met quite a few people who measure the last 365+ days as “before pandemic” and “during pandemic”. We are not quite at the “after pandemic” time period and might not be for quite some time. This time last year the world was blind to how long the pandemic would last. Schools/workplaces asked students/staff to prepare for two weeks of remote learning/work. TWO WEEKS! ????? That was extended to a month, then two months… yet still today, schools/workplaces operate on fully remote or partially remote schedules.
A friend reminded a group of my friends the other day that we were 25 when the pandemic started. Soon, I will be turning 27….we’re still living in a pandemic. If that’s not a scary way to measuring pandemic time, I don’t know what is.
When this all started though, our world was convinced COVID would be a short-term occurrence. Yet, our entire world continues to be influenced by the consequences of COVID-19 in some shape or form. Every decision I make takes into consideration health risk and mitigation.
There is not a day that passes by I don’t think about measures to stay healthy. I still wear a mask every public place I go. I wash my hands and use hand sanitizer so frequently that some days my hands hurt. I am over-conscious about giving myself and others space. I am fully vaccinated yet I am hesitant to do voluntary things like group runs/races and social gatherings that would require me to be with a lot of people. We are living in a pandemic world.
Some states have “opened back up”. I pass by a barbershop a few days per week where I can see employees are unmasked. That upsets me. That makes me feel nervous for the people inside. I have heard of too many tragedies from people within my community who have lost family members or know someone who now faces other health concerns because of this terrible virus.
Recently, due to some changes in health status, my family has changed their mindset about COVID to keep each other safe. We always took COVID seriously (more than most people I would say). But now we have an air purifier in our living room with UV features to sanitize our space. We keep our distance from each other. I even quarantined myself to my room for 4 days after I was exposed to someone who tested positive (even though I am fully vaccinated). Our priorities and mindset have shifted to keep safe and healthy.
I genuinely miss running with other people. I ran 2 miles with a family friend unintentionally/unplanned last week. This was the first time I ran with another person since September. I don’t plan on signing up for any races anytime soon either. I miss having a goal but I feel like now is not the time to prioritize a running goal. I’ll just continue to maintain my fitness level (avg ~3 miles/run) and go from there.
So… one year ago (almost). We are still in a pandemic. People are still getting sick. People who are exposed still have to (/should be) quarantining. People are getting vaccinated. People are allowed to make their own choices about what they feel comfortable doing, who they feel comfortable being with, etc.
I don’t see an end in sight. Honestly, how does one even mark the end of a pandemic?
It is so strange for me to think back on what life was like a year ago – so much uncertainty, naivety, ignorance. In a way, time has slowed in the past year. Yet…I can’t believe we’re already at the one year mark.
I’m not sure what I got out of writing up this blog post. It wasn’t really cathartic. My thoughts seem really jumbled. I can’t tell if I’m sad about the health of this world or just indifferent to it.
I just want everyone to be safe and healthy, to enjoy the things you want to enjoy, to pursue the dreams you want to pursue.
Wash your hands. Wear a mask. Choose wisely who you spend time around. Be safe. Stay healthy.