My perspective on this here pandemic year.

Covid-19, or the Corona Virus, has shaped all of our 2020’s. How excited were we all to be starting a new decade? We had so many hopes and dreams for 2020 – This was going to be the year that I [fill in the blank]. In January I remember vaguely hearing of a single case of the Corona Virus in Seattle, Washington. It was cause to raise an eyebrow, but at the time, didn’t seem like it was necessary to change lifestyles. We saw China and Italy on the news and sympathized with them, but not fully grasping until it hit home, if we are being honest. I remember being on the fence about a trip with some friends and we just kept delaying buying our tickets because we didn’t know what this virus thing was going to do. Was it like the flu? Or Chicken Pox? How contagious was it? So many questions.

Weeks passed by and the news was more intense and traumatic. Hmm, this was not an ordinary virus, it seemed. As a people leader, I wonder if I should be doing anything differently. I can’t imagine what it was like to be a governor with no unified direction. And then it happened – the call was made: Go in to grab you stuff and prepare to work from home. This was back in March. I went in and grabbed some things, but I guess I must have thought this would be like a month tops, because I left my plant in the window. My coworker texted me about it and I thought – plant will be fine; I watered it and I’ll be back in no time.

And here we are 8 months later knowing more but not doing better, as a country (my viewpoint from the US). I wanted to write about this earlier but I think at first there was denial that this would last this long, other pressing issues with racial injustice, politics, and general decision/zoom/video calls/virtual anything fatigue. It’s been a tough year.

So, I wanted to talk about it now. Because, well, it’s important that we get things off our chest, but also give ourselves a break. When I read about plagues and pandemics in the Bible, they seem so ancient. It never seemed like something that would happen modern day. We are all (well, most of us) wearing things on our faces that didn’t exist a year ago. I am so impressed by technology and people’s ability to pivot and create new items.

The week before the stay-at-home order I went to the grocery store and bought 2 weeks (secretly 3 weeks) worth of groceries. I tried not to give into the toilet paper hoard, but I wanted to make sure I had some I had some in case there was going to be a shortage. To this day I don’t know why people were buying all the toilet paper. After that grocery trip, I waited a month before going back to the store. I had been working from home, and the only place I had been was outside for some fresh air. So, between watching the news and my wild imagination, I was freaking out at the thought of going out in the world to get groceries. It was absolutely exhausting trying to manage the list of groceries, not touching my face, not using my phone, and getting everything for the next month, all while maintaining 6 feet and making sure no one breathed on me. Shopping now took hours!! Then coming home, spraying everything down with Lysol, letting the non-parishable cardboard “quarantine” for 3 days and showering immediately after entering the house. I was having to take vacation days to get groceries, and was so exhausted, physically and mentally, afterwards.

Months passed, and as we learned more about the virus (how much do we really know anyhow?) and summer was approaching, I opted to shop every two weeks. This was a lot more manageable and allowed me to have fresh produce. The more you go “outside” the more comfortable you get and it’s easy to see how people can become complacent. But as tired as we get of the virus, it’s not over because we are tired of talking about it.

There are so many facets to this global pandemic. You’ve got the haves and have nots, rich and poor, Black and White, and everything in between. How people get treated, the access they have to medical assistance, and other topics that affect how the numbers look.

First and foremost, there are the people that have been directly impacted by this virus – people that are sick, people that have died, their families and friends that have to live through it with them, the first responders, medical professionals, hospital staff, and caretakers having to directly deal with Covid Patients. By now, everyone reading this is probably 1 degree away from someone that has been personally affected.

You’ve got people with kids trying to work from home and help with homework. You’ve got family members taking care of other family members, rearranging schedules and lifestyle patterns. There are Singles going through this alone, with no one to physically talk to or do things with – something as simple as lifting a heavy piece of furniture becomes a whole ordeal. And wanting to help the economy, but the realization that they can’t afford to buy that “splurge” item just in case they lose their job – as they are their only source of income. There’s not enough room to even discuss dating during COVID and how hard that can be.

Couples have been tested as they have no where to go but home, day in and day out. There are people who have the ability to work from home and those that don’t. People have lost jobs, sources of income, restaurants and small businesses have closed down permanently. This has been a sad and trying year for the world as a whole.

But there is a silver lining. I thank God for what has not affected me and my loved ones. Things could always be worse. A silly piece of cloth has saved millions of lives from being infected or perhaps dying. As tired I am of all things virtual, Skype, Zoom, Viber, WhatsApp, HouesParty, and several other apps have allowed me to stay in contact with friends around the world. Imagine how much harder this would be if you were physically and digitally alone. Companies that did not allow working from home are now forced to see that it can work. This may mean a world of difference post-Covid for single parents or those with compromised situations.

We have more time. Impossible, right? It’s the same 24 hours. But I think being locked inside or just not being able to do all the things we are used to doing has forced us to prioritize how we spend our time. I have a greater sense of things that I will continue to say no to, post-Covid. And I’m excited to delve into the things that I will continue to say yes to. At some point you stop making excuses and you just decide “this is not something I want to do” and that is a freedom you can’t put a price on.

There will continue to be challenges as the vaccine comes out and we decide next steps. It’s getting colder and not being able to go outside and do things will take a toll on people, or the lack of sunlight (it’s been getting dark at like 4:31 nowadays on the East Coast) is sure to put a damper in plans. So we are “stuck” inside longer and longer. For some, that might be great and you have lots of quiet activities you want to accomplish or just not having the burden to entertain. But to others it’s the pits not being able to go anywhere and not having the social interactions desperately needed.

I have hope this will all soon be over. I just hope that we take the lessons that we learned from 2020 and apply them into our post-Covid lives.

See you on the flip side!

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