I have completed an entire 365 days at home during COVID 19 (I've been counting the days on a desk calendar in front of my keyboard). We've left home for what we've considered essentials: a few doctor visits, postal service needs, a mostly contact-less car purchase, and bi-monthly shopping trips (which have now segued into online shopping and contactless pick-up). No voluntary social interactions or family visits. Zoom has kept us connected. And soon, we'll be vaccinated. Life will change again. Maybe B.P., previously referred to as Before Present, will specifically be referred to as Before Pandemic.
March 11 last year was the eve of our trip to Munich. It would have been our first return trip since we left there at the end of 1993 with a toddler and a babe in arms. Last year, we'd packed our bags, passports and excitement to revisit the city in which we'd begun our family 29 years before - we were ready ahead of schedule, no last minute to-do's left to do. But Europe had become the active center of the COVID pandemic, reporting more cases than the initial China outbreak. Italy had recently gone into total lockdown. Most tourist attractions and transport services in Munich were cutting back on opening hours and operations due to the surge of cases throughout Europe. There was talk of the US closing its borders to travelers from Europe - how would we get back home if that happened whilst we were away? (We didn't understand at the time that U.S. citizens would obviously have been allowed to return home.)
Just before checking in for our flight, after an anxious evening of constantly checking for updates and definitive information, we both decided it would be best to back out. We felt devastated, and yet relieved at the same time, having put the unknowns and decision-making 'what-ifs, ands or buts' to rest.
We've basically been 'at home' ever since. I had been an 'at-home Mom' when my children were young (which had a lot more freedom than our current set up), so my lifestyle has historically not been frantic, striving for productivity goals, or busily involved in the corporate world. I've learned this year, though, that there is an even more languid, non-rushed flow to life than I'd already known!
I was determined not to let my choice of physical separation during the pandemic control me psychologically and make me frustrated and miserable. After all, it was temporary, and I could choose how to use this time - how often in our lives do we have the opportunity and occasion (nay, the luxury) to stand back and reflect while the world is in limbo and waits to re-start? I distinctly recall the feeling of losing a loved one, and wishing like crazy that the world would just stop and pause, that it would respectfully halt and take a breath with me in recognition of the huge impact my loss had on the world.
And now, we had that opportunity ... so, without specific goals of what I intended learning or achieving during the pandemic, I decided to go with the flow and make the best of the opportunities that presented themselves during this time. It was hard sometimes, and not always plain sailing, but there were also lots of positives and ways to grow.
/to be continued ...