comic strip Brewster Rockiy 12-26-2020

The Year the Wasn’t: Some Things Changed

I last posted here in March of 2020. It’s hard to grasp whether that was really nine months ago or just a few weeks. I’m not the first to onserve that time had been so strange this year. I don’t think most of us who have lived through this year will forget 2020–like it or not.

comic strip Brewster Rockiy 12-26-2020

Please know I’m not saying “lived through this” casually. The coronavirus wasn’t the only thing that took lives in 2020, but it has taken something from every one of us.

My family and I have done our best to follow the prescribed precautions. Depsite that, COVID-19 has taken from us too. My 91-year-old father was very involved in his church and community in the Before, and the abrupt cutoff of his social activities was tough on him. His physical and mental health have declined this year, and the isolation played a big part in that. He can no longer live independently, and until things change, we can’t visit him in the care home. This virus is especially dangerous to the elderly, but the things we need to do to protect them pose their own hazards.

Despite that, I told someone a few months ago that I was built for the lockdown life

And after spending most of 2020 living it, I still mostly believe that’s true. Early in the pandemic, I saw articles proposing that introverts would adapt to stay-home orders more readily. That’s largely been the case for this introvert. (I’m not the extrovert my father is.) I miss weekend coffee dates with my sister, casual conversations with coworkers, traveling, and eating in restaurants. But with that said, I confess that I mostly haeven’t minded being forced to be a homebody.

And here’s the thing: There are some parts of my life I actually hope never return to pre-pandemic “normal.”

I expect crowds in public spaces to be anxiety-inducing. I’m dreading the return of everyday traffic. I’ve been able to work remotely four days a week since last spring, and I really don’t want to be in the office more than twice a week once the world resets.

But if I have to go there, I will…I am grateful to have a good job. As of mid-October, my husband no longer does; after 19 years with the company, he was “restructured” out. For the record, losing long-term employment when you’re still a few years too young to be able to treat it as retirement is…well. sucky. Also for the record, we have a safety net and are doing OK. I’m grateful for that too, because it is not the best job-search environment right now.

And ironically, given that development, that I feel like I’ve spent more time this year working than doing anything else. Granted, working from home gave me more hours to work, since I was not spending them in the car driving 80 miles a day. And there was the remote-work learning curve, involving new logistics and a staggering number of Zoom meetings. Some people explored new hobbies or pastimes in the Year of Our Coronavirus. I barely kept up my old ones (this space being Exhibit A). Almost everything new I learned was mostly–literally–to get the job done.

Opening a new calendar is not an automatic reset, but if there was ever a New Year that called for one, we’re looking at it. All I ask of 2021 is that it doesn’t become 2020, Part 2.

(This post will have a Part 2, though…)

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