A COVID-19 Diary Entry
Thoughts from an overwhelmed person
One day a few months ago, someone tweeted something along the lines of (recalling from memory) ‘Yes, the things that are happening in 2020 with the virus are absolutely terrible, but be honest, is this the worst year you’ve had to face thus far?’. As I read through the thousands of replies on the viral tweet from people who’ve had many far worse years/experiences, I also realised (and answered) that no, 2020 comes in at least third, if that. But I’m reconsidering that answer today.
Like everyone else at the start of the year, I was touting TWENTY PLENTY! I had the same positive feeling that many had that this was going to turn into an incredible year. Since my “Year of Plenty” blog entry, I’ve done only five blog posts. Not that I was particularly good at getting blog posts out in the past, but this is a fairly dismal amount even for me.
Now, on Day 90-whatever of the various stages of Lockdown, I am at once at my wit’s end and at the same time just completely spent. I can’t check anymore updates. I can’t read anymore news. I can’t battle anymore family members sending me fake nonsense. I can’t send out important urgent factual information to people and only get back crickets, because everyone else is as tired as I am. I am numb and completely overwhelmed, and all that while sitting in my cushy cottage with all the privileges in the world that life has allowed me. How can I be this strung out and “MOEG” when things are a thousand times worse for so many millions of people?! But I am.
At our company, we’ve been on Short Time (half our regular hours, 50% salary) since the start of May. And things are not even beginning to look up yet. I’ve gone from scoffing and psssshhhh’ing at the first meeting where the 50% salary cut was announced – thinking it would never come to pass – to facing a very real possibility that I may abruptly be jobless soon.
Privileged as we are, especially in comparison to people in far worse positions, we have lost much in the year of plenty, 2020. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day passed for many of us without seeing our parents, even if they are still with us, for fear we may lose them in the very process of celebrating them! Dinner with friends, gone. Jumping in the car to just go on a day trip, gone. Months and months of plans, cancelled one after the other. Some plans years in the making – nixed! Going to the shops, such a banal daily activity, is fraught with stress, and potentially deadly for some of the people involved.
I feel like I’ve aged 5 or 6 years in the months of lockdown. I look at myself in the mirror and I’m missing something, someone. This past weekend saw the very first time we ventured out for anything other than work and essentials. Why? Because it was our anniversary! And I couldn’t stand the idea of sitting at home another day, letting yet another special day pass with nothing more than a clink of glasses and a wan smile. I’ve already watched many days pass where we were meant to be somewhere beautiful, experiencing something amazing.
As a friend recently said [paraphrasing] “How do I go back to how things were?? Can I?”. The truth is, we can’t. Like a great flood, everything is being swept away. It’s impossible to say how much will be lost, how this year will end, where we’ll be this time next year, where the country will be. Can we hope that despite all that’s lost, all that’s callously ripped away, there will still at least be a little room for something new and good to rise in its place? What else is there to do but rebuild? One brick at a time. Maybe we can do better this time.