Reflections on my year of COVID

It’s been almost a year since my household stopped doing normal life. The last time we went to the climbing gym was March 14. I’m sure we ate out that night.

Some things have been hard. There are people who I would see casually, not necessarily people I’d set up a Zoom with, who I haven’t seen in a long time. I haven’t climbed. We haven’t had a game night. We had a trip to London and a trip to several national parks cancelled.

Teaching in pandemic was a mess, less because of the virus itself and more because of the inability of people upstream (school district, state, feds) to be thoughtful, to give lead time (when possible, which was all the time except the very beginning, perhaps), to think longer-term and not just about rightthisminute. Deciding to quit teaching in pandemic was ultimately a good choice but was extremely stressful.

People who didn’t take full precautions—who continued to have lunch dates and parties and so on—were maddening and continue to be so. The whole situation could have been so much easier, got better faster, if everyone in the group worked on the project.

Such is the way with group projects. Such is the problem with teaching people that they need to do right only so they don’t get in trouble instead of teaching people to do right because it’s the right thing to do. Or because there’s a bigger picture.

All that said … for me, it hasn’t been terrible. I’ve stayed in touch with people close and made some new friends. I’ve been in better touch with a couple of people, because schedules thinned out. I’ve maintained an exercise schedule (though it’s not been as good as it was a year ago because there are fewer options).

What I confirmed about myself is that I’m really content to be at home.

The Climbing Daddy has been itching to travel and has gone camping twice this week—once by himself and once with The Kid. (Staying home while they went camping, having the house to myself, was glorious!)

I enjoy traveling, am grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve had, am glad that The Climbing Daddy is a traveler because I wouldn’t initiate it most of the time … and I don’t lament not traveling. The trips we had to cancel—one in April and one in June—would have been a lot of fun. And once I moved past the initial disappointment of canceling plans, it was fine.

I wrote a book. I took a lot of pictures and got better at it, and started to learn editing. I played some piano badly and got better at it. (It’s still not good.) I did a ton of things with Finnegan. I baked a little. Moved furniture around a lot. Saw the ducklings at the canal grow up. Added two dogs to the family.

I’ve been fortunate enough not to lose anyone close to me—regardless of the cause—to be healthy myself, and to be economically secure. I recognize that this is not true for everyone—not true for so many people—but also true for the majority of people in my circles.

When COVID-19 is under control and we can safely co-mingle again, it will be lovely. I’m looking forward to having people over, and to meeting girlfriends for coffee dates, and to not worrying about masks. I just hope that we don’t just hustle back to what we had before. We’ve had this opportunity to learn and grow and reset some things that needed resetting. On a large scale, we’ve done miserably. On smaller scales, I still have hope.

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