March marks the one year anniversary of our response to COVID; our Pandemiversary.
Time flies when you’re having fun, right? That is not exactly the phrase I would use to describe the past year. March is officially the one-year anniversary of the pandemic, or as I like to call it, Pandemiversary. The vast majority of Americans have never lived during a pandemic, so none of us had even an inkling of how our lives would be turned upside down. One day it was business as usual, and the next, I was buying lavender scented toilet paper because that is all that was left on the shelf at the store. By the following week, my husband and I were working from home, my 4th-grader was remote learning, and my preschooler was kind of just hanging out, admittedly with too much screen time.
We all muddled through the first few weeks, afraid to leave the house even to check the mail. My daughter celebrated the first pandemic birthday in the family during second week. We were naive to think this would only be our routine for a few more weeks. Before you know it, we were buying desks to work from home, finding mountains of activities to keep the kids occupied, and had an exorbitant amount of snacks delivered straight to our doorstep from Amazon and Target. We were having groceries delivered and sanitizing them when they arrived. All mail and packages were subject to a spray of Lysol. We were not taking any chances.
Fast forward to the summer of 2020. We finally caved and let our kids see their grandparents for more than a socially distanced driveway visit. We established our “bubble.” The kids were at least able to go ride bikes and swim with the neighbors. The adults were able to enjoy a few adult beverages in our backyards on the weekends. It was gearing up to be a decent summer, minus the cancelling of vacations and sports camps for the kids. I just kept telling myself, “if we can make these sacrifices for a year we can overcome this.” Deep down, I hoped it wouldn’t be a year but each passing month made that timeline more realistic.
Now, March has reared its ugly head again. We gave it a year. We all celebrated a pandemic birthday, Thanksgiving, and Christmas, among other important days as well. We coped with an abbreviated, watered-down season of our favorite professional sports. The summer Olympics were postponed. Some friendships fizzled out, and some grew stronger. Some of us developed new hobbies or discovered a new talent. Many of us were personally and deeply affected by COVID, and some of us were not. So, was a year enough? Will we ever get back to normal? My answer: a year was not enough (we can get into all the reasons why, but let’s not beat a dead orange horse), and what is normal?
Our new normal includes solo shopping trips, doomsday-sized reserves of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, smaller gatherings, and a newfound affinity for 1,000 piece puzzles. Our new normal means finding new ways to connect with friends and family. Some favorites are FaceTime, Zoom, dropping care packages on friend’s porches and just doing little things to let them know we are here for you and we are thinking about you.
So, during this month of the Pandemiversary, try not to think about how awful 2020 was. Try to think about all you overcame and survived. Think about how resourceful and flexible you became. Focus on the year ahead. Celebrate the little milestones like returning to the office or finally being able to receive your COVID vaccination. Celebrate it all. We will never get back to normal without hope that someday our world will be normal again.