Happy Pandemic New Year
New Year’s Eve 2020 was the biggest non-event of all the new years we’ve ever experienced. Some people had a small break from lockdown restrictions, the rest of us soldiered on with staying at home and feeling isolated. This year it was even more obvious than usual that absolutely nothing was going to change overnight just because a digit increased by one.
The clock stopped in March 2020 when normal life ground to a screeching halt, yet time has relentlessly marched on. The days became weeks. The months stretched on into a year. A chunk of time too vast to to consider at the start of the pandemic, for fear of crumbling at the thought. It’s been one day at a time for the past year.
There has been no escaping the covid fatigue. Things could have been worse, sure. Can’t really complain. They could also have been significantly better. Redoing the four-year-old tantrums during a pandemic is difficult, and it takes an even bigger emotional toll. It feels like an entire year has been stolen away from our lives. A year older, with little to show for it except persisting through the low days and the ok days.
We started the pandemic in one city, we’ll end it in a different one. Lots of change on the surface, yet very little difference to our day-to-day existence when our excursions and social activities are so limited. A presidential change to the south, more brexiting to the east, with some royal drama on top. The cycle of violence and protests continues across the world. The climate crisis drifts on in the background. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.
It’s unsurprising that people are marking the one year anniversary of their start of the pandemic. Spring is slowly arriving and there’s finally hope on the horizon, depending on where you currently call home. We enviously watch parts of the world where people are living a completely different life, with social events and travel that the rest of us can barely imagine anymore.
Vaccine rollouts are bringing changes in some regions. The rest of us are still waiting, hoping. We may get vaccinated over the summer, but our kids certainly won’t. It’s too soon to know how much of a difference that will make. Seeing family and friends back in Ireland won’t happen this year. We’ll settle for some outdoor activities and the ability to try and make some new friends, finally. Maybe next year we can have higher expectations.
The real difference a year makes, is that we’re not facing into the start of a very uncertain and scary period. Now we’re slowly approaching some kind of end. Even if it may take the rest of this year to actually get there. I plan to mark our future pandemic anniversaries with a huge amount of appreciation for the often unnoticed wonders of ‘normal life’ that I have to hope will have been restored to us by then.